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Newport wary of Ponty backlash at Sardis Road

Newport wary of Ponty backlash at Sardis Road

Newport RFC Head Coach Tyron Morris.

Newport head coach Ty Morris has warned his players to expect a severe backlash at Sardis Road tonight (Thursday, 29 February) when they face Pontypridd.

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However confident Newport will be feeling heading to Sardis Road after securing seven successive bonus-point victories, Morris knows the home side will be right up for the game that is being broadcast live on S4C.

The last time the two teams met at Newport Stadium it turned into a rout, with the home side running in eight tries without reply in a 54-3 triumph. Morris believes that defeat, and abject performance, will be uppermost in the minds of the Ponty players in the return fixture.

“They will be a much different team at home, and I’ve told the players to expect a severe backlash after what we did to them earlier in the season,” said Morris.

“We want to continue doing what we’ve been doing, and we’ve picked a strong team. But in this league anyone in the top six can beat anyone else.

“There will be no room for complacency, and we need to keep on winning to stay on course to finish in the top two to secure a home semi-final.”

A Thursday night game means Black & Amber talisman Matt O’Brien is available to play, and Morris is delighted the way things have worked out for his highly influential outside half. They had hoped to have him free from his duties as backs coach at the Dragons for up to 60% of matches, but it is getting closer to 80%.

The attacking intent inspired by O’Brien has carried them into second place in the Indigo Premiership table and they can not only close the 15-point gap between themselves and table-topping Llandovery, but also move clear of third placed Ebbw Vale, who are level with them on 70 points.

With two games in hand on both teams, picking up another full-house of points at Sardis Road would do very nicely – and be a big boost ahead of the derby clash with fourth placed Cardiff at Rodney Parade on Saturday, 9 March.

“Consistency is the name of the game and we’ve built up great strength in depth. We had two full teams going at each other in training this week, fighting for a place in the side. That has really kept things competitive,” added Morris.

For the second game running the Cardiff University wing Iwan Prys-Jones is included among the replacements. The former Wales Sevens sensation is still only 20 and played in five World Series events when he was still a teenager.

A product of Ysgol Glantaf, he played for Cardiff U16 and U18 and made the Academy at the Arms Park. He made six appearances for Pontypridd in the 2021-22 season but hasn’t played much rugby this season.

“We are delighted to be able to give him a chance. He got incredible footwork and great speed,” said Morris.

“He got a couple of minutes at Merthyr, and we hope to be able to give him a longer run at Ponty. He is exactly the sort of player we are here to help as they seek a second chance to break into the professional ranks.”

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