Preview: Aberavon v Llandovery

Aberavon (1st) welcome Llandovery (2nd) to the Talbot Athletic Ground this Saturday in the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

The Drovers have won three of their four games this season with them kicking off their campaign with a 21 – 5 home win over Swansea, after leading 18 – 0 after half-hour of play. Flanker Stuart Worrall scored a try for the home side, who were also awarded a penalty try. Outside-half Angus O’Brien kicked three penalties.

In their second game, Llandovery won 21 – 10 away to Carmarthen Quins. The Drovers led 14 – 10 at half-time with centre Rhodri Jones and prop Harri O’Connor scoring tries, whilst outside-half James Garland converted both. In the second half, the former Wizard scored a try himself which he converted.

The following week the Drovers welcomed Llanelli to Church Bank and ran out 39 – 12 winners, gaining a bonus point in the process. They scored six tries with full-back Will Thomas, centre Rhodri Wall, outside-half James Garland, wing Aaron Warren and lock Osian Davies all touching down, with them also being awarded a penalty try. Garland converted two tries and kicked a penalty.

Last weekend, Llandovery welcomed Bridgend to Church Bank. The Drovers were leading the Ravens 19 – 5 by half-time thanks to tries by hooker Dafydd Hughes, centre Rhodri Jones and wing Callum Williams with two conversions by outside-half James Garland. However, the visitors outscored their hosts 20 – 0 in the second half to win 25 – 19 and give the Drovers their first defeat of the season with them picking up a losing bonus point.

Looking at the Premiership Cup, in “attack”, Llandovery have scored 25.0 points on average per game (ranked 2nd) and 3.5 tries (ranked 2nd). In “defence” they have conceded 13.0 points on average per game (ranked 2nd) and 1.8 tries (ranked 2nd). Aberavon have scored 30.0 points per game (ranked 1st) and 4.0 tries (ranked 1st), and conceded 12.3 points (ranked 1st) and 0.8 tries (ranked 1st).

Looking back to when the sides met at the ground in January 2000 there were club debuts for New Zealander Scott Leighton and replacement back-row forward Ian Moore. The Wizards were 17 – 0 up after 23 minutes thanks to tries by centre Ian Jones and Gareth King, with outside half Leighton converting both and kicking a penalty. The Drovers hit back on the half-hour mark when flanker Gareth Thomas went over for a try. In injury time at the end of the first half wing, Daran Griffiths scored the Wizards third try to make the score 22 – 5 to Aberavon at the interval.

Llandovery hit back again at the start of the second half when wing Tracy Lewis scored a try that was converted by outside half Peter Lloyd. However, Aberavon came back with a try by captain Mark Evans and then by flanker Chris Kinsey. Leighton added a conversion to make the score 34 – 12. Late in the game, number eight Richard Morris scored the Wizards sixth try with replacement James Taylor adding the extras to make the final score 41 – 12 to Aberavon.

The Wizards team that day was: Gareth King; Daran Griffiths, Ian Jones, Barry Maddocks, Paul Bamsey; Scott Leighton, Aled Thomas; Robert Price, Jason Hyatt, Colin Noon, Mark Evans (capt), Ian Strang, Chris Kinsey, Richard Morris, Howard Merrett. Replacements: James Taylor, Ian Moore, Matthew McCarthy, Lloyd Howell, Mickey Dixon, Mark Thomas.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Elgan Williams, aided by Jason Morris and Kath Pritchard.