Aberavon Wizards play host to Cardiff on Saturday in the season curtain raiser, which kicks off at 1.30. The Port Talbot side finished the last campaign in seventh, three places below the away side in fourth.
So how are both teams limbering up ahead of the big clash? The Wizards pre-season has seen them suffer a narrow 31-29 defeat at the hands of the Cornish Pirates, a game in which Aberavon will rue the squandered conversion attempts from Aaron Grabham and the needless penalties they surrendered. Still, a valiant second-half display from Aberavon left plenty of optimism for the second pre-season encounter.
Onto Esher and an unconvincing victory for the Wizards in a 12-10 triumph. The proactive and direct running of Esher coupled with them winning the breakdown, left the score at 10-7 to Esher at the interval. This wouldn’t last long though and a rejuvenated Aberavon ran out 12-10 victors with a Chris Davies try.
But if Aberavon’s results flattered to deceive, Cardiff’s have also been uninspiring. The blue and blacks crashed to an emphatic 7-50 defeat at home to Coventry. It must be stated that the Arms Park side were without many first team stalwarts.
They faced Rosslyn Park next at a 30 degrees, sun drenched Priory Lane. An early try from Cardiff’s Geraint Llewellyn was avenged by a home side that used their set pieces to the detriment of the Welsh side. As is the case in many preseason matches, a host of changes were made at the break which led to three tries for Rosslyn Park and just the one for Cardiff. Debutant replacement wing Luke Thomas soared towards the corner after a cavalier jaunt to the line.
Head to Head Record
Thirty meetings in the Welsh National League have recorded 15 wins to 14 for Cardiff and the other match was drawn. The Blue and Blacks have won their last two visits to the Talbot Athletic Ground although the score board suggests that this match could be in the balance.
Players to Watch
The free flowing running of combative Wizards man, Joe Tomalin-Reeves, makes him the man to watch.
Chris Williams has scored tries in both of the Blue and Blacks summer outings and will be dangerous this weekend.
Kick off is at 1.30 on Saturday 5 September.