Howard Evans (Newport Programme Notes)

For the second time this season we welcome Newport to the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Having started the season well by winning here in August, Newport have played some fine rugby and were clear winners of the Eastern section of the Cup.

They are clearly the top club side in Wales at the moment and as Aberavon usually rise to the occasion against a good side, then this match, at least for the neutral, is one not to be missed.

The Black and Ambers have possibly the best back thus far in Matt O’Brien, who is also club captain. He has moved from fly half to centre this season, but has already turned in some fine displays.

I am pretty sure we will also see, in the grandstand, Brian Jones, an outstanding player, who was capped for Wales at centre, but who I remember most for being in a great Barbarians side in South Africa in 1958.

Brian was then the only uncapped back, yet played outside Cliff Morgan and inside Sir Tony O’Reilly with great players all around him. He was also the first British player to appear in sides that defeated New Zealand, South Africa and Australia,

On the Aberavon side, we finished the Swansea game last week with teenagers at half back. Dan Edwards (18 years, three months) and Rhodri Lewis (17). Great prospects and credit to the Aberavon coaches for playing them. And what a try by young Lewis!

How is it that Cardiff could not recruit anyone to go to Parc y Scarlets?

Also, well done Rowan and Geraint, playing against Toulouse.

Today’s referee is Jason Bessant, who I once asked if he was related to the former Aberavon full back Phil Bessant, but he did not seem to think he was.

It is his second match with Aberavon this season as he controlled the game at Swansea in dreadful conditions last month.

My forecast is a very good match.