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.
The winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.
The Wales Under 20 camp are in a quietly confident mood as they face Ireland in the U20 Championship, with Coaching Co-Ordinator Allan Lewis and full back Dafydd Howells targeting a top five finish in the tournament.
Wales U20 may start as favourites against Japan this evening in the U20 Championship, but Team Manager Mark Taylor is warning against complacency. He is also hoping a good win will boost morale and 'kickstart' performances.
Coach Richard Hodges is hoping Wales U20 can put a disappointing campaign behind them when they tackle Japan tomorrow as they look to finish the U20 Championship strongly to secure a good seeding for next year's tournament.