Here’s what head coach Dwayne Peel had to say to the media this week as we prepare to take on Connacht on Friday night.
How important was it to get that first win under your belt?
DP: “It was obviously an important result. I felt we were bolder with the ball, there was some good intent. I thought we played with speed and when we had the ball and were on the front foot we looked good. I was also fairly pleased with how we managed territory with 14 men. The boys have been working hard and it was nice to get the victory.”
How pleased are you for Dane, Sam and Josh getting call-ups for Wales?
DP: “I am delighted for them. Sam and Dane are two young half-backs who have taken their opportunities and worked extremely hard on their games. It was fantastic for them and to see their reaction on Tuesday, they’re good kids, good boys. As for Josh, he was outstanding against Zebre, arguably man of the match for me, he turned so much ball over and was physical in that ruck area. Games are the big thing for him, we need him on the field as much as we can, the more he plays the better he is going to be. He is also a good leader off the field. I am delighted he is getting the opportunity.”
What is the latest injury news on Wyn Jones?
DP: “Wyn flagged his knee was sore post-match and came in on Monday not in great shape with his knee. He’s had a scan and is going to be out for some time. I think he needs a bit of a clearout of his knee. That’s disappointing for him, obviously, for us as well. Not much can be done about that, it’s one of those situations.”
What are your thoughts on Ken Owens’ comeback?
DP: “Ken is a good story of a guy who has shown determination because he could easily have bailed a few months ago. Nobody could have blamed if he had called it a day. I thought he was outstanding against Zebre, the physicality and tackle quality he brought to the game in his first start for something like 13 months, he was very good.”
What qualities does Dane Blacker offer?
DP: “He is a good footballer, he reminds of a French nine. He has had to bide his time and having two international nines has not always been great for him in terms of frustration. I am delighted for him. I am a big fan of his. He has an ability to see gaps and space and as a support threat he has scored a lot of tries on shoulders. He is someone who has worked hard for it. Hopefully he gets his chance to show everybody what he can do.”
What about the challenge of Connacht on Friday night?
DP: “It is a big challenge ahead. With Connacht, the last two weeks have shown us that they have come out of the blocks hard against Munster and Leinster in those interpros. It is going to be a big physical challenge for us. We need to plan for that and make sure when we get opportunities we take them. The fundamentals of the game when you go there are so important, the ability to field kicks, your ability to cover back field, kick well and physicality, that is the challenge. If we can get on top of the fundamentals we give ourselves a chance.”