If the Principality Welsh Premiership season ended today, Aberavon would be champions. Sadly it doesn’t, but the importance of being perched proudly above their counterparts cannot be ignored. Being on the periphery of top spot is a never ending quest to upstage the leaders and now the title is in the Talbot Athletic team’s hands and theirs to lose.
The weekend’s trip to Newport is one where the team should thrive under the expectancy and hopefully add to their points tally. The aim must be to go to Llandovery on March 5th with form, a points gap and most importantly, confidence. Never mind the Cup defeat is my view and one that will be shared If the lost matches allow the team to recuperate for the league campaign.
Much like Ireland did to Wales, kicking is likely to be a big part of the early stages of this weekends match as it was when Newport thrashed Ebbw Vale in their last match. A 40-6 win was as comprehensive a win as the side have managed this term and one that saw Aeron Bidgood flourish, scoring two tries. When he was not doing this he was rampaging forward and offloading for team mates.
Playing away at Newport won’t be easy however after a keenly contested battle back in October which Aberavon narrowly won 26-24. Head Coach Jason Hyatt gives his players a licence to express themselves but also work under a caveat of stringent defensive solidity. Rowan Jenkins will be a threat for Newport, especially given his recent form which was showcased by two tries against Bridgend.
Against Bridgend, Joe Tomalin Reeves, was a stand out performer covering every blade of grass and countering and starting attacks. The back row will be decisive if Aberavon are to win the league. Controlling matches by keeping possession will allow the flare players to wreak havoc in the final third and ultimately deny the opposition try-scoring chances. I will predict that this will be a replicate of the earlier meeting and be won by a small margin just by Aberavon.
Expected Line Up’s
Joe Tomalin-Reeves is a great ball carrier and physical presence for the Wizards.
Aeron Bidgood is the main threat as most of the tries come through him, be it through scoring or creating.
Newport RFC:1 Fraser Young, 2 Alex Watkins, 3 Tom Piper, 4 Adam Brown, 5 Daniel Mock, 6 Rhodri Jones, 7 Kyle Tayler,8 Jack Goodey, 9 Aeron Bidgood, 10 Matt O’Brien, 11 Jonathan Morris, 12 Andrew King, 13 Owen Williams, 14 Wes Cunliffe, 15 Llywarch Ap Myrddin
Aberavon Wizards RFC: 1 Rowan Jenkins, 2 Ieuan Davies, 3 Andrew Clatworthy, 4 Ben Jones, 5 Sam Williams, 6 Lee Purnell, 7 Chris Davies, 8 Joe Tomalin-Reeves, 9 David Pritchard, 10 James Garland, 11 Stef Andrews, 12 Cameron Clement, 13 Matthew Jenkins, 14 Jay Baker, 15 Richard Carter
Sunday 14 February at Rodney Parade: Kick Off- 14.30.