Wizards in European Glory

Aberavon Rugby Club are very proud of both Rowan Jenkins and Geraint James for featuring for the Cardiff Rugby in the Champions Cup against Toulouse.

Due to the pandemic and quarantine issues relating to Cardiff Rugbys’ recent travel to South Africa in November, they were without 42 players. This gave a golden opportunity to Jenkins and James to feature in a game they will remember for a lifetime.

Jenkins started the game at loose-head prop facing Charlie Faumuina who has earned 50 international caps for New Zealand. However, Jenkins held his own and did himself proud.

James entered the field of play with 10 minutes to go and did exceptionally well.

Both players will remain in the Cardiff Rugby camp this week as they prepare to face Harlequins.

Six Nations Tickets

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST NOW!

We will have access to our Wales Six Nations allocation from next week. 

Whether you’re looking for the cheaper tickets that are SOLD OUT on the WRU website, want to buy Christmas presents or just want to support your local rugby club, ask about our availability for the Scotland, France and Italy home games.

Tickets start at £40 each for Scotland and France and £30 each for Italy.

U17 concessions available for Italy tickets only.

We only sell tickets at face value and they’re all on a first come, first serve basis.

Register your interest now at seasontickets@aberavonwizards.co.uk

Christmas in Port Talbot

We are delighted to announce that the Christmas Trees in Port Talbot have been installed.

A big thank you from Aberavon RFC to all who took part:

Richard Morris and Chris Jones – CJ Construction Ltd

Miles Hire Ltd – For Donating the hire of the Cherry Picker

Fabweld Ltd – For making the securing plates for the walk through tree

Pump Supplies Ltd for the labour and transport/hiab vehicle.

And a big thank you for donations received to date from the following companies.

Andrew Scott Ltd

Hale Construction Ltd

Castell Construction Ltd

Port Talbot Cricket Club

Pump Supplies Ltd

Centegreat Ltd

Any companies or individuals who would like to contribute to the Christmas Lights fund (which still has a considerable shortfall) please contact chris.davies@aberavonwizards.co.uk or andrew.john@aberavonwizards.co.uk

GTK: Ashton Evans

GET TO KNOW ASHTON EVANS

Ashton Evans hails from Bridgend and played club rugby for Tondu before signing for Bridgend.

In 2018, Evans signed for ‘the Wizards’ and played his first game against Cornish Pirates in a friendly.

Ashton was educated in Maesteg Comprehensive School, Cardiff University and Loughborough University, and is currently working as a European Product Manager for a company called Invacare.

The natural number 8, but currently playing at 6, has produced some fine performances since breaking his jaw against Cardiff in 2020.

“I think my defence is probably the most pleasing part of my performances so far. It is something that we have been working hard on as a group with Swanky and I feel that it has been going well so far”, said Evans.

Chris Davies, Defence Coach, backed up the big mans views.

“What a defender! Ashton has the ability to make the right decisions at the contact area consistently. Always putting himself in a position to make a positive impact on that side of the game.

Ashton is far more of a rounded player than just considering his defensive qualities. He is continuously offering himself up as an attacking threat and is always involved in conversations around the way we are constructing the game”, commented Davies.

2020-21 WRU Premiership Cup (West) 16.10.21 Aberavon v Llandovery

“I was probably performing my best just before COVID. I think that having a run of games and getting into a rhythm helps.

I am starting to feel that again now and hopefully can push on for the rest of the season”, added Ashton.

Evans is coming up to 29 years of age this month and is always learning.

“I learn from every member of the squad. There is now so much experience in the squad that the level of detail and teachings in every session means that there is always something to learn”, added Ashton.

Going back to his education and staying on the topic of learning, Ashton gained a 2:1 BA Sports Management Degree from Loughborough University and a distinction in his Masters of Business Administration from Cardiff University. Ashton previously has worked in marketing with the Welsh Rugby Union and at Swansea City Football Club.

“I think my defence is probably the most pleasing part of my performances so far. It is something that we have been working hard on as a group with Swanky”

But, maybe more interestingly to some, Ashtons hidden talent is reciting the alphabet backwards, very quickly.

Evans has played 53 times for the Aberavon scoring 9 tries.

Looking ahead, Evans is thinking very positively about the remaining Indigo Group Premiership Cup games.

“We have gone well so far and I think mathematically we have secured a play-off spot. It would be nice to finish strong and gain a home play-off game”.

Ashton records his best rugby moment winning the Welsh Youth Cup with his mates at Tondu. Conversely, a moment he wishes to go back to and change would be breaking his jaw against Cardiff the day before he was supposed to be flying to New York with his girlfriend.

He would want Ashton Kutcher to play himself in a movie because … the name works and the superhero he would like to be is Captain America because “he seems quite level headed, like me”.

Go to Snack: Dairy Milk

Favourite Aberavon Player: Joe Tomalin-Reeves

Aberavon Player to Watch: Jonny Phillips

Celebrity Crush: Jena Frumes

Favourite Movie: Forest Gump

Karaoke Song: We Did not Start the Fire by Billy Joel

You can follow Ashton on Twitter at @AshtonEvans8 or on Instagram at @AshTone8.

Medical Team and the Flying Fijians

Brian Downey and Osian Griffiths to take on Wales

‘The Wizards’ have a pair of internationals on their hands.

Brian Downey and Osian Griffiths are currently Aberavon Rugby Clubs’ physiotherapists and have been working with the Fijian International rugby team for their Autumn Internationals. They take on Wales today at the Principality Stadium.

This is Brian’s sixth stint with the Fijian team.

“The players and management welcomed me into the squad and we bonded quickly. It helped knowing some of the players from previous trips”, said Brian.

But this time Brian is relishing the opportunity to take on Wales.

“It’s great to face a top tier team and see the boys rise to the challenge. I’m especially looking forward to seeing some of the younger players show their talent. The atmosphere in Principality Stadium on game day is always fantastic”, added Brian.

“there’s no denying I will cherish the moment when the anthems come on at the Principality, and I will for sure be singing the Welsh national anthem under my face mask”

This will be Osian’s first taste of international rugby.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ve loved experiencing rugby at an International level.

It’s been challenging within a short 3-week camp to quickly get to know 28 players personally as well their medical backgrounds, but this has developed during gym sessions, treatment sessions and long travelling journeys”, commented Osian.

Likewise, Osian is very excited about the prospect of facing Wales and speaks of the challenge ahead.

“Wales will be our toughest opponents of all three test matches of this tour, but the boys and coaching staff have worked hard in camp this week to plan for this.

Although I am associated with Fiji for this November tour, there’s no denying I will cherish the moment when the anthems come on at the Principality, and I will for sure be singing the Welsh national anthem under my face mask”, said Osian.

Aberavon are extremely proud of their achievements and their involvement and exposure at international level can only benefit the environment upon their return.

“A big learning for me is ow important it is to have good open communication between players and management to identify potential issues early and nullify their impact.

Also being strict with the squad bubble to prevent any chance of infection in the team”, said chief medial man Downey.

Osian spoke of the learnings around the culture of Fijian rugby.

“The biggest learning experience for me has been adapting and being a part of the Fijian culture throughout the day and evening Lotu, and seeing how their culture is positively implemented into their game and everything they do”.

BRIAN DOWNEY

OSIAN GRIFFITHS

Having characters around the game is really important especially when operating in a COVID bubble whilst being a long way from home. We ask Brain and Osian who the characters were in the group.

“Nicola Matawalu for his humour and energy that he brings to the team on and off the field”, said Brian.

“The player I’ve warmed to the most is Peni Ravai, a gentle giant. He loves to joke and sing, and of course scrummage.

The other evening we were having a sauna in the hotel, he turned to me and asked “do you like The Lion King pal?”, and I said yes, to which he then gave a beautiful rendition of the ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’”, commented Osian.

We wish Brian an Osian the best of luck on their journey whilst we send good luck to both Fiji and Wales for todays game.

Wales V Australia Tickets

WALES V AUSTRALIA TICKETS

We still have some tickets for the Wales V Australia game on Saturday 20 November (1730KO) as follows:

£45 each – U36 R21 (2 together)

£65 each – M36 R10 (3 together)

£65 each – U31 R18 (2 together)


£65 each – U32 R16 (2 together)

£65 – M18 R4 (single ticket)

£65 – L29 R21 (single ticket)

If you are interested please email seasontickets@aberavonwizards.co.uk or andrew.john@aberavonwizards.co.uk

Get to know Chris Banfield

GET TO KNOW CHRIS BANFIELD

The 30 year-old full-back hails from Loughor, Swansea. Banfield is a qualified Physical Education teacher currently teaching at Cefn Saeson School in Neath Port Talbot.

His first appearance for Aberavon was against RGC in 2017 scoring a try on debut, he has gone on to play 72 times for the club.

To date, Chris has played a considerable amount of rugby starting in six games playing the full 80 minutes in each game. He begun on the bench against Swansea last Saturday only to enter the field of play 20 minutes into the game replacing Joe Gage.

‘Banf’ reflected on his recent performances:

“In general, I feel my all round performances have been solid. All of my playing time has come on the wing so developing my defensive work in that position has been a positive experience.

We are working as a team to be better as an attacking unit so for me it’s getting as many touches as I can off the wing and take opportunities when they come”.

Talking of attacking rugby, not many people will know that Chris played for Great Britain Students 7’s where he was part of the World Championship winning team. ‘Banf’ describes it as his “best rugby moment”.

“As a squad we have developed a lot in the first block of games by learning to win in different ways.”

Chris is a player who is always looking to improve his game at every opportunity. Chris Davies, Aberavon Defence Coach added:

“He is a true professional, works hard, runs hard, plays hard. What I like most about Banf is the conversations you can have with him around rugby and how he sees the game.

Being open-minded and curious around his positioning has allowed him to grow his game to be an exceptional winger considering he played a lot of his rugby at 15 and prior to that at 10.”

A true rugby man, always positive and is excited about the growth the team is showing.

“As a squad we have developed a lot in the first block of games by learning to win in different ways. We have always enjoyed attacking rugby but our defence and kicking game has improved.

That has enabled us to put pressure on the opposition to make mistakes so we can capitalise. You’ve only got to go back to the Carmarthen game, we hardly had the ball in attack but came away with a great win”, says Banfield.

When looking forward at the remaining games in the Indigo Premiership Cup Banfield and his teammates will be hunting down some positive outcomes.

“There’s three tough games to come against opposition who always make it difficult for us. However, we are aiming to top the West and look forward to playing against the opposition from the East for some silverware”.

The flying full-back is now known for wearing a lid due to a bad head wound received during battle – he is also supposedly known to show a resemblance to Matt Damon the famous actor.

Chris was asked ‘what superhero he would be?’ and he quickly named ‘Deadpool’ thinking that he could have a laugh whilst saving the world.

His go to snack is a burger, you would not believe it as he is shaped like a radiator. His favourite Aberavon player is the big man – Will Price.

Favourite Movie: Remember the Titans

Karaoke Song: American Pie

Celebrity Crush: Nicole Scherzinger

Hidden Talent: He can bake a pretty good caramel shortbread


You can follow Chris Banfield on Instagram @cbanf and on Twitter @c_banf10

Graham Young

Aberavon RFC are saddened too hear of the death, aged 81, of our former full back Graham Young who played for the club in the 1960’s and was the leading points scorer for the Wizards for three seasons.

Our sympathies go out to his wife and family.