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Jones proud of effort and desire in Clermont

Coach Ceri Jones praised the ‘effort and desire’ from Dragons as they battled with French giants ASM Clermont Auvergne in the European Challenge Cup.

Ben Mottram | 15/12/2018

Elliot Dee, Aaron Wainwright and Rhodri Williams grabbed tries as battling Dragons pushed power-packed Clermont all the at the Stade Marcel-Michelin. 

The home side – who top Pool 1 and the domestic Top14 – eventually ran out 49-24 winners in the Round 4 clash.

However, Jones was full of praise for the manner in which Dragons went ‘toe-to-toe’ with Clermont and even threatened a stunning comeback in the second half. 

“The effort and desire was exactly what we needed to see,” said Jones.

“I thought in parts of the second half we really put them under pressure. We got back close on the scoreboard and if we had got another try it really would have put them under pressure.

“There was no lack of effort and to score three tries against that kind of quality opposition away from home is a positive for us.

“We fronted up really well and took no backward step. We went toe-to-toe in an intimidating arena and the players can be proud of that attitude.

“Defensively we need to sharpen, system errors and individual errors have cost us. But if we show that effort and willingness to work hard we will get there.

“It’s not the result or score we wanted, but the attitude was good and we must pull together now and get ready for the Welsh derby games,” he added.

“We got some momentum in this game so we look at the positives, take that intensity and willingness to play forward with us and work on cutting out the errors and lapses in defence.”

Jones also highlighted the performance of Cory Hill – who moved to six for the clash – and fly half Josh Lewis.

“I thought Cory was excellent at six. He showed his adaptability and was a real success story for us,” he said.

“The key big second rows, Matthew Screech and Brandon Nansen, gave us real power in the pack and worked well together.

“I was really pleased for Josh Lewis too. His control of the game was good, his kicking off the tee was assured and he was a real standout for us.

“Across the board we can take positives and we had some fantastic support over here. It was great to see how much they appreciated the performance at the end as they clapped us off.

“In terms of injuries, the only real concern is Tyler (Morgan) who has a facial injury which we will assess. But we hope it is not too bad and it shouldn’t be an issue for the derby next week.”

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