Welcome back to Merthyr who will be getting used to playing at the Talbot Athletic Ground and to performing in front of the Television cameras. Also welcome back to the exciting (former ‘Wizards’) winger Jay Baker of Cwmavon.
Also welcome back to full back-fly half Matthew Jarvis, who has the best right boot outside of regional rugby and scored a lot of points in his spell at Aberavon. I remember standing behind Matthew when he kicked a late match-winning goal at Bedwas right from the touchline. It was over from the moment his boot touched the ball. Oh that we had a kicker of his class with us tonight.
Among those off the field will be Nigel Davies, the quiet former Wales centre and coach, who now lives in Gwent and I know my friend Mark Ring rated Nigel as one of the best that Wales produced in his time, while talking of Welsh caps we have that former Kiwi and for a short time a Scot (‘tis true) in the mighty Dale McIntosh. Dale was not a man to play against, but he was a helluva guy to play with.
Somehow Jason Hyatt and Lyndon Lewis must get together a 15 that will perform better than last week. That is where they will earn their money – I hope.
Injuries to James Garland, David Pritchard, Sam Williams, Chris Banfield, Jonny Phillips, Luke Davies, Ben Thomas and Andrew Waite, in particular, meant that we just couldn’t match Pontypridd at Sardis Road.
The fine attacking skills of early season have (temporarily I hope) left us, so the coaches and medical staff will have to work hard to put the aching bodies back right and fight the league leaders all the way.
Let us hope this will be a real close game.