Matthew Jones: "Cup success would boost Bristol Rugby's league campaign"
MATTHEW Jones sees Saturday's trip to Cardiff as a big opportunity for Bristol to get their season back on track after three straight Championship losses.
Although Bristol's priority this season remains securing a top-four Championship finish, they head to the Arms Park in the British & Irish Cup this weekend with Jones, pictured, admitting the focus is as it would be for a league game.
Bristol, despite winning the B&I Cup in 2011, have at times fielded weakened sides in the competition – but they are likely to send a strong squad to the Welsh capital.
And fly-half Jones, one of six Welshmen in the Bristol squad, believes a victory on Saturday could have a positive impact on the club's league campaign.
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"We've lost three league games on the bounce now, so regardless of what competition is up next, we're going out to win," he said.
"Winning brings confidence and that becomes a habit – when the boys are confident, winning rugby matches becomes a lot easier.
"It wouldn't matter whether it was the British & Irish Cup or a league game at the weekend, we'll approach this week's training and the game absolutely the same."
The 28-year-old, who started at Clifton Lane in Saturday's 23-16 defeat at the hands of Rotherham, feels Bristol need to cut out the individual mistakes that are hurting them in games.
Saturday's performance was an improvement on their 50-31 loss at Leeds and their 22-21 home defeat to Moseley, but mistakes at key times in the game again cost them dearly.
"We were the better team, particularly in the first half, but the scoreboard suggested we weren't, so that's what we've got to look at," said Jones.
"We know it's about patience and we will get some points – it's just about keeping the ball and being patient.
"When we did keep the ball and we were patient, we came away with points. But ill-discipline, especially in areas of the park where we knew we could come away with some points if we went another phase or two, just let us down.
"Individually, we know we can stop that and that's something we have to cut out."
Bristol led 6-0 and 13-10 at Rotherham, only to trail 23-13 with two minutes to play. However, Tristan Roberts, who replaced Jones in the second half, kicked a late penalty that secured a losing bonus point.
And Jones believes that extra point could prove crucial later in the season.
"We are positive and upbeat, but we did lose the game and that's still fresh in our minds," he said.
"But it's one point and I'm sure that will tell come the end of the season, so credit to the boys for digging in. I thought we deserved more, but one point is one point.
"We lost but in that first half we showed some really good glimpses of how Bristol can play. It was frustrating not to be in front at half-time, but you go to places like Rotherham and you know you're going to be in a match for 80 minutes.
"But there was some really good positive stuff from us. We've lost the game and got a bonus point, but we need to grasp those positives from this game and keep working hard, which we always have.
"We've got to knuckle down now and keep doing what we're doing."