Rodney Parade factor is key – Kingsley Jones
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons forwards coach Kingsley Jones is urging the “fantastic” Rodney Parade faithful to play their part in tomorrow night’s do-or-die clash with Bordeaux-Bègles.
His side must beat the French Top 14 side if they want to progress to the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Should they emerge victorious over the French outfit, tenth in the league, the return fixture at the Stade André Moga next week becomes eminently winnable.
If the Dragons are triumphant in both encounters, it would set them up for a grandstand finale against Bath in early January to determine who makes the last eight.
Former Wales captain Jones stressed the importance of overcoming Bordeaux-Bègles at home first up.
“Every game we play here, we go out to win,” he said. “It is a tricky fixture and if we don’t do well tomorrow night, it will be a very tough game down there the week after, that’s for sure.
“We have an opportunity to set our stall out. If we put in a good performance and get a good result then the week after will be a little bit easier for us.”
The French side are effectively already out of the Amlin Challenge Cup after losing to Bath 15-6 at home in their opening group game.
They are involved in an arm wrestle towards the bottom of the French Top 14 but have had a respectable start to the season, winning six and losing seven of their league games to date.
At home they have beaten the aristocratic likes of record Heineken Cup winners Toulouse, French champions Castres and Stade Français.
Their away form is not so good however and their only triumph on their travels came last week against former Dragons favourite Aled Brew’s Biarritz who they beat 22-15, the Basque side propping up the table.
Jones believes the Rodney Parade fans can make a significant difference to a home win this week.
“The support has been fantastic here and we need that help,” he said. “This is a real home crowd. There are not too many of those left in rugby now with the way stadiums are. But this truly is a home ground and we need to keep that factor.”
The Dragons had been on a fine run before their narrow 18-14 defeat to Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12 at home last week.
They will look to build on last month’s 20-8 win over London Wasps in the LV= Cup at Rodney Parade and a spectacular 23-8 away success at league high flyers Glasgow.
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