Aberavon Wizards are conjuring the sort of form that the mythical character associated with the club would be proud of. Last time out they won 32-22 against Carmarthen Quins and did so with the sort of gusto that title winning sides possess. There was the usual trickery from Jay Baker and Stefan Andrews on the flanks but all four tries were scored by the backs which puts across the brilliance of a team that is far more than reliant on one man.
Aberavon’s mental capacity to deal with being in touching distance with the title is perhaps the biggest obstacle in continuing their swashbuckling form. Obviously they will look to the crunch fixture with Llandovery as a potential decider although it is the ability to avoid complacency that is of paramount importance. Nevertheless I don’t think this will be an issue as the plethora of match day photos of team huddles show.
Cardiff meanwhile are 9th out of a possible 13 and come into the match after a narrow 9-6 defeat by Llandovery. “If only they had won” is a statement I am sure many Wizards fans would have been thinking. It would have left the teams on level points and meant that the upcoming match against Llandovery could have seen the Aberavon side go top. As things stand this looks unlikely to happen on points difference.
They beat Aberavon 32-26 in the Fosters Challenge Cup, though it must be stated that Aberavon’s line up was much changed and something of an experimental one. In September it was a different story however as the Wizards ran out 26-12 victors in a fairly comfortable afternoon. That said the blue and blacks got the first score of the game and went 8-0 up so this kind of beginning needs to be nipped in the bud on Saturday. Then there was the most recent victory in a 24-8 win at the Arms Park. Coincidentally the hosts raced into another 8-0 lead which again outlines the need for caution early on.
On balance I think another win is on the cards here for Aberavon and I will go for a 26-6 routine win.
Aberavon Possible XV:
Jonathan Phillips (rep Aaron Grabham 80+1 min); Jay Baker (rep Joe Gage 78 min), Joe Thomas, Cameron Clement, Matthew Jenkins; James Garland, David Pritchard (rep Dan Davies 80+1 min); Rowan Jenkins, Ieuan Davies, Jon Thomas (rep Rhys Forse 73 min), Ben Davies, Sam Williams (rep Adam Beard 59 min), Lee Purnell (rep Nathan Brown 68 min), Chris Davies, Joe Tomalin-Reeves.
Kick Off is at 2.30 on Saturday 16 January 2016 at the Talbot Athletic Ground