Head coach Dwayne Peel spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s return against Cardiff at the Arms Park. Here’s what he had to say.
What is the challenge that faces you in Cardiff after your win last week?
DP: “The challenge is greater this week. We are obviously happy with the result. To get that home win was great for us and important for us. We were happy with certain elements of the performance, I thought we rallied well after the red card and there was good togetherness in the group. To be honest, I’m happier with the reaction this week, we haven’t been patting ourselves on the back and that happened straight after the game, it was back to business ahead of a big challenge. It is important for us to go away and put a performance in. That is what we have concentrated on this week. The emotion will be there, that is the nature of the game, for us it is about getting our game right, looking at where we can improve and where we can target Cardiff.
Are you expecting a reaction from Cardiff?
DP: “I think there will be a reaction; it is natural at home that you get that, home form is important to every club. We are expecting that, it is part and parcel of the game and that is where these double headers add spice.”
How big a boost is Sione Kalamafoni being available?
DP: “It is a big boost, he has been excellent this year. He is a player who will go to the well for you every game, he has been fantastic all season.”
What is the latest injury update after last weekend?
DP: “Unfortunately, Scott Williams (shoulder) will be gone for the season. It was a tough day for us, Dan Jones, in what was an innocuous challenge, damaged his knee and Ioan Nicholas playing for Llanelli in Pontypridd hurt his ankle. I don’t expect any of them to be available for the rest of the season.”
What about Ken Owens and Leigh Halfpenny?
DP: “I don’t think Ken will play this season, he is nowhere near returning from training, Pence won’t be available until next season.”
What kind of role will Liam Williams play for the remainder of the season?
DP: “He is a quality player, he will definitely have a role for us. He has been very good since coming back from Wales duty, he wants to finish strong and we want him to finish strong.”
Do you need to win all of your remaining games to make the top eight?
DP: “Close to it, I can’t see that we can afford to lose more than one. Realistically we need to go on a really good run and that is what we are focused on. The boys realise a good win last week needs to be replicated this week, next week and the week after if we are realistic about achieving our goals. If you see the nature of how leagues are won or how you get through to play-offs it is about momentum, the side that generates momentum has a good run at it. That momentum comes through hard work.”