RUGBY PREVIEW: Blackwood RFC v Pontypool RFC
4:11pm Monday 21st January 2013 in Sport
PONTYPOOL RFC "owe Blackwood one" after their league defeat at Glan-yr-Afon Park earlier this season.
That was the view of Pooler head coach, Mike Hook, ahead of the sides Swalec cup clash this Saturday at 2.30pm.
Then, for the first hour the sides were pretty evenly matched before Pooler ran out of steam against a powerful home side who ended up holding on for a 20-13 win.
Hook is hopeful that won’t be the case this time, sitting the improved forward display at Bargoed three weeks ago as evidence of the progress they’ve made in that area.
"It starts with us fronting up," Hook said of Saturday’s trip.
"We need to take it to them and show again that we can stand up to these sides."
They’ll have to do that without second-row Josh Tyler who has returned to the Dragons to be part of their LV cup campaign.
Hook says they are working on a deal for another Dragons academy prospect to replace Tyler but until then is confident with what they have.
This season has been something of a right off given the financial difficulties which have been a constant theme throughout it, but for Hook wins are still the aim not merely planning for the future.
That includes a good cup run which he says is important for his side’s development.
"It’s not about the cup being an escape from the league form I think a good cup run is an aim in itself.
"We see it as a big part of our development, a good cup run will energise us and push us on again."
And Hook, who played at the Millennium stadium while at college will stress to the players what a great occasion that could be.
"A win here would give the players the chance to test themselves against a premiership side perhaps and gives them a chance to make a statement."
Hook is hopeful of bringing in another couple of players before the end of the month.
"There will probably be a couple more signings before the end of January, it’s going to be a busy week !
"That isn’t just people for this season, but hopefully players who want to commit to a two or three year plan."
On the departing Tyler Hook was full of praise.
"Josh has been a great servant to us and we haven’t really had a chance to pay tribute to him for that.
"Not just on the field he was a true professional off the field."