A ruthless Aberavon wizards outfit are vanquishing everything that is put in front of them at present, dispatching Carmarthen Quins 16-12 on the weekend. The Quins exposed their weaknesses in the first quarter and Aberavon took full advantage to earn a third successive victory in the Premiership.
Far from being all one way traffic, Carmarthen piled the pressure on in the closing stages but to no avail. The Wizards backs were unflinching in their tackles and had the positional sense to boot.
Aberavon have quality when they go forward and must show this more. Whenever the game is becoming subdued, they have people to trigger a try. This was evident last weekend when winger Steff Andrews burst forward and scored a try.
The reasons for Aberavon’s success
Workmanlike is how I would describe Aberavon’s performances thus far and they should be commended for this tack. The Quins coach, Paul Fisher, reiterated this when he labelled the Port Talbot side’s performance as “organised and defended splendidly”. The strong defence means that matches can be won by shutting opponents out so far however the hope will be that as the matches come, so to will the attacking prowess.
Rob Dudley-Jones’ running in the Carmarthen match stretched the Quins defence to increase Aberavon’s dominance in the Quins half. James Garland’s timely return to the side saw him increase the advantage with a conversion. The man of the match was Joe Gage, who bombarded forward at will and provided the offload for Morgan Williams to dive over for another try. Gage in particular can find space and accelerate the Wizards attack. The players mentioned provide real quality and don’t be surprised to see them making the try count on the weekend.
What can we expect from the Bridgend Ravens?
Stranded at the bottom of the Principality Premiership having lost all three of their matches, Bridgend will be a match Aberavon should win. Nevertheless coach Lyndon Lewis will need to nip any complacency in the bud because Bridgend will be desperate for points. If he was watching the Japan v South Africa World Cup match, this won’t be a problem. The visitors have so far been thumped 20-8 to Ebbw Vale, a comprehensive 50-0 by Pontrypridd and 40-14 last weekend by Llandovery.
Interestingly, Bridgend started their last match by making a quick attempt at a try that was stopped in its traps by the Llandovery defence. Llandovery would score the first try and converted by Jack Maynard. The Ravens fought back from this with Ifereimi Boladau adding the try and three points although the angle meant the conversion wasn’t attainable.
However, discipline may be their Achilles heel. A double yellow card was to come just before the break as Bridgend’s Marc Bennett and Llandovery’s Matthew Harbut were both sin-binned following a fracas. If they do the same on the weekend, expect the Wizards to run up a big score.
Bridgend overpowered Llandovery early in the second period forcing the visitors to illegally halt their advances. A procession of penalty kicks to the corner of the field came to nothing but the referee was becoming increasingly agitated with Llandovery’s gamesmanship. Despite the emphatic score line Bridgend fought like a wounded animal in the second half and will look to do the same at the Talbot Athletic Ground. They finished the last game with a flourish
Aberavon Possible Line Up
Joe Gage; Morgan Williams, Will Price, David Evans (rep Joe Thomas 56 min), Steffan Andrews; James Garland, David Pritchard; Rowan Jenkins (rep Mike Burgess 79 min), Ieuan Davies, Andrew Clatworthy (rep Jon Thomas 65 min), Ian Moore (capt), Ben Jones (rep Sam Williams 64 min), Lee Purnell (rep Nathan Brown 65 min), Rob Dudley-Jones, Joe Tomalin-Reeves.
Replacements not used: Dan Davies, Steffan Williams & Gareth Harvey. Joe Gage, Morgan Williams & Joe Thomas appeared from the Ospreys, Steffan Williams from Resolven RFC, Mike Burgess from Aberavon Quins RFC.
2.30 at the Talbot Athletic Ground
If Aberavon are as resilient defensively as they have been in the previous games, this looks to be a banker home win.