Preview: Aberavon v Llandovery

Aberavon take on Llandovery at Merthyr’s The Wern ground this Saturday in the semi-final stage of the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

The Drovers finished the pool stage of the competition in top spot of the West division after winning nine of their ten games. They did the double over Aberavon, Carmarthen Quins, Swansea and Llanelli and beat Bridgend away but lost 19 – 25 at home to the Ravens back in October. Earlier this month they beat Pontypridd 12 – 3 at Church Bank in the quarter-final stage to set up Saturday’s semi-final clash with Aberavon.

In the other semi-final this weekend, Cardiff will face Newport at Pontypridd’s Sardis Road.

In the Indigo Group Premiership, the Drovers have won three from six games. They have beaten RGC 1404 (bonus point win), Merthyr (bonus point win) and Swansea, but have lost to Newport, Pontypridd and, last weekend, Ebbw Vale.

Back in the 2010-11 season, the Wizards met Llandovery in the semi-finals of the Swalec Cup at Carmarthen Park with Aberavon winning 18 – 12 by somehow holding off huge Llandovery attacks, especially in the final quarter of the game. Aberavon led 15 – 7 at the break thanks to tries by Nathan Strong and Chris Lewis, with Matthew Jarvis converting both and kicking a penalty. For the Drovers, Dan Evans scored a first half try for them with Howard Thomas adding the extras. In the second half, Jarvis kicked another penalty whilst Llandovery scored a second try when Lee Rees touched down with twenty minutes still left on the clock. It proved the final score but there was great effort by the Drovers attackers and Wizard defenders, with Aberavon’s defensive wall holding out for the win to send the Wizards to their third Welsh Cup final and their first for 36 years.

The Aberavon team that day was: Matthew Jarvis; Richard Carter, Will Price, Liam Gadd, Chris Lewis (rep Ricky Thomas); Jamie Davies, Dan Davies (rep David Pritchard); Neil White (rep Lloyd Howell), Marc Breeze, Anthony Edwards (rep James Jones), Sam Williams, Ian Moore, Aaron Bray (rep James King), Nathan Strong, Chris Davies (capt).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Rhys Jones, aided by Jason Bessant and Dai Cambourne.