Newport Still Hoping To Reach Heineken Cup Quarter-finals
3 January 2002 12:43pm
Newport coach Ian McIntosh is determined to end this season's Heineken Cup Pool section on a high note and has not yet given up on an outside chance of one of the last two places in the quarter-final line-up.
Newport will finish second in Pool 6 if they make it doubles over Toulouse and Newcastle in the next two weeks and, with eight points, could be one of the two best second placed teams.
The quest begins in Toulouse on Saturday when Newport will be hoping to
repeat their home win over the French champions in a fixture that kicks-off
at 6.00 pm local time.
"These are two very important games for us and we want to maintain our current momentum throughout January," said McIntosh.
"We will be using the full strength of our squad in Toulouse and in the home game against Newcastle. We will be aiming to win both matches and, if we can do that, it will be a major achievement for the club.
"A place in the quarter-finals is still attainable, although we know it will require two amazing victories and a few other results to go our way.
"Nevertheless, the players will be focussing on doing just that."
McIntosh has given Matthew Watkins a chance to shine at outside half and
fellow Wales A cap Jason Strange a start at outside half.
Mike Voyle packs down in the second row with skipper Simon Raiwalui, while Joe Powell moves across the back row from No 8 to blindside flanker.
NEWPORT: Matt Pini; Matt Mostyn, Matthew Watkins, Jon Pritchard, Ben Breeze; Jason Strange, Ofisa Tonu'u; Rod Snow, Paul Young, Chris Anthony, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Mike Voyle, Joe Powell, Jason Forster, Andy Powell.
Replacements: Ceri Jones, James Richards, Ian Gough, Peter Buxton, Andy
Marinos, Shane Howarth, Dale Burn.
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.