Pontypridd assistant coach Paul John is fully focussed on the need to progress in the SWALEC Cup following the club’s exit from the British & Irish Cup last weekend.
A comprehensive defeat away to Leinster A on Sunday saw Ponty depart the cross border competition. The disappointment of that event is one that John will be eager to exorcise from the squad’s psyche as they gear up for an all important Welsh Cup tie away at Llandovery.
“It was without doubt a blow to be knocked out of the BIC” said John. “Last week we were fighting on three fronts and now we are down to two. We were beaten by a very strong Leinster outfit but also feel that we did not perform to the utmost of our own abilities. Its very rare in rugby that you get a chance to put your wrongs right within just seven days, but that is the short turnover we have before the SWALEC Cup tie against Llandovery, and that is our intention.”
As a former cup winning player with Pontypridd in 1996 and 2002 the significance of the competition is not lost on Paul John.
“We have a great tradition in the cup, a long and proud history and also our status as reigning champions to uphold. That will provide motivation for the current squad, to generate enthusiasm and to get everyone switched on to the task in hand.
“We need to use this game as a catalyst to get back to where we should be, to cut out the errors in our game and get back to winning ways. Llandovery are top of the league and in great form. They will provide another huge challenge for us – to which we must respond.”
The SWALEC Cup will provide a fresh focus of attention for the club’s supporters as well as the squad, as Paul John is keen to point out.
“We had tremendous support in our BIC games over in Ireland, in Belfast and in Dublin each side of Christmas” said John. “The level of commitment shown by our fans again has been phenomenal. The journey to Llandovery won’t be quite as demanding but we certainly need our supporters to turn up in numbers and give us the same vocal backing, hopefully to progress to an important win.”
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Sut y gallwn hawlio yn ol ein gem genedlaethol? Oes angen newid y strwythur? How can we reclaim our national game? Is there a need for a restructure?