6:33am Tuesday 25th February 2014
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons forwards coach Kingsley Jones was delighted to get his kicks out of his son's exploits from the tee on Sunday afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.
The former Wales flanker was unable to watch when full-back Rhys, who was starting his second game for the region, lined up a tricky conversion of Ross Wardle's late try down the left against Glasgow.
But his 26-year-old lad nailed it from the touchline to give the Dragons a 24-23 lead that they held on to for a superb RaboDirect Pro12 win at Rodney Parade.
The coaching staff were tense enough after enduring a poor start to 2014 but there was extra stress for Jones.
Not only did he have two of his sons playing – 21-year-old Cross Keys fly-half Dorian took to the field as a replacement for Jason Tovey – but had one of them under the spotlight from the tee.
"When Rhys was a kid at Sale Philippe Saint-Andre liked him a lot and gave him a few opportunities," said Jones, who gauged the success of the late conversion by watching director of rugby Lyn Jones' reaction rather than the kick.
"I remember thinking in a game against Wasps (at Adams Park in 2007) that it was hard enough having him playing let alone kicking goals.
"To be fair to Rhys he has gone to play sevens full-time (for Wales) so place kicking has gone out of his game. It's something that he doesn't do week in, week out but he came up with the goods."
The Dragons became the first side to enjoy a home Pro12 win against Glasgow this season and did the double over the title hopefuls.
"To get a home win against a top side is fantastic," said Jones. "The attitude couldn't be faulted and that's how we gauge things at the moment.
"Are the coaches putting everything in? Are the players putting everything in?
"You could see that the answer is yes with the way that they defended at the end and the way that they kept positive to get back into it (when 20-10 down after an hour).
"With that fight we have always got a chance."
The victory keeps the Dragons hot on the tails of the sixth-placed Scarlets and builds a five-point gap against a Cardiff Blues side that have played a game more and who have just one Arms Park fixture remaining.
"I think there is a clear gap between the top five and the rest but we've got to keep chasing for that sixth place," said Jones.
"I'm fed up of hearing about the Dragons as the fourth region. Okay, we're not going to be first region yet but we need to start to change people's thoughts and if we can finish above at least one rival it'll be a start."
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