Preview: Aberavon v Llanelli

Eighteen months after Aberavon’s last competitive match – a 20 – 18 home win over Cardiff in the Indigo Group Premiership – the Wizards kick off their Indigo Group Premiership Cup campaign this Saturday when they host Llanelli at the Talbot Athletic Ground, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

Aberavon are in the West pool along with Llanelli, Bridgend, Carmarthen Quins, Llandovery and Swansea. The East pool will be contested by Merthyr, Ebbw Vale, Pontypridd, Newport, Cardiff and RGC.

The initial stage will be on a home and away basis to find the top two sides from each group. The winner from West will then host the runners-up from East in one semi-final while in the other semi-final the winner of East will host the runner-up of West. The date and venue of the final are TBC.

The Indigo Group Premiership will start on 11 December, on a home or away basis. The top four teams will be entered into play-offs to determine the Indigo Group Premiership champion. There will be no promotion or relegation this season. Fixtures will be published in due course.

Getting back to Saturday’s game – Before the 2019-20 season being cancelled, Llanelli were tenth in the Premiership after winning six of their fifteen games, whilst Aberavon were third after winning eleven of their sixteen games.

During pre-season, Llanelli played Felinfoel and beat Trimsaran 78 – 12 last Saturday.

Looking back ten seasons ago when Aberavon hosted Llanelli in Principality Building Society Premiership, a spectacular game of rugby saw league leaders Aberavon turn on a superb display to deservedly defeat reigning champions Llanelli.

Aberavon opened with wing Richard Thomas causing havoc before Nathan Strong suddenly ran away to send Richard Carter over and Jamie Davies converted.

Llanelli hit back with a lovely move that saw Iolo Evans go clear and Jordan Williams converted, but Marc Breeze hit back with a corner try.

Rhydian Gierat stretched over and Davies converted and the latter converted again after sending Carter in, though a Williams penalty closed the half.

Carter’s third try on the left side was goaled by Davies, but Llanelli had a good spell and first Williams then an alert No 8 Allan Powell scored and Williams converted the latter.

At 31-22 the lead was still not enough but Richard Thomas ran through and Davies converted before placing a penalty.

The seventh try came from speedy replacement Ricky Thomas that Davies converted, but on time, Nick Reynolds crossed and Williams added the extras to make the final score 48 – 29 to Aberavon.

The Wizards team that day was: Howard Thomas (rep Ricky Thomas 72 min); Richard Carter, Ben John, Will Price, Richard Thomas; Jamie Davies, David Pritchard (rep Dan Davies 67 min); Lloyd Howell (rep Rhydian Gierat 70 min), Marc Breeze, Will Taylor (rep Anthony Edwards 53 min), Rhydian Gierat (rep Rowan Jenkins 60 min), Sam Williams, Chris Davies (capt) (rep Rory Gallagher 54 min), Nathan Strong, Nathan Brown (rep Darryl Harvey 73 min).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Gareth Newman, aided by Greg Morgan and Dai Cambourne.