Preview: Aberavon v Llandovery

This Saturday, Aberavon (6th – 60 pts) play their last home game of the season as they welcome Llandovery (1st – 78 pts) to the Talbot Athletic Ground in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

Llandovery have won seventeen of their twenty league games this season, losing only to Cardiff away in October (picking up two bonus points in the process), at home to Merthyr in January, and at home to Aberavon last month. They have had eight bonus point wins, with these coming at home to RGC 1404, Llanelli, Carmarthen Quins, Cardiff and Swansea and away to Merthyr, Llanelli and Swansea.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Llandovery have scored 29.8 points on average per game (ranked 2nd) and 3.7 tries (ranked 5th). In “defence” they have conceded 16.2 points on average per game (ranked 1st) and 1.9 tries (ranked 1st). Aberavon have scored 27.4 points per game (ranked 5th) and 3.9 tries (ranked 3rd), and conceded 22.9 points (ranked 7th) and 2.8 tries (ranked 7th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Llandovery have met each other 50 times in the Welsh National League (including playoffs), with the Wizards leading the series 31 – 17 with 2 games drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 18 – 6 with 1 game drawn with Llandovery winning the last time the sides met at the ground (29 – 28 last season).

Looking back twenty-one seasons ago the Wizards won the Division One fixture against Llandovery 22 – 13. Wizards outside-half Jamie Davies and Drovers full-back Stuart Harries traded penalties in the first half to make the score 6 – 6 at the interval. Early in the second half centre Tracey Lewis intercepted for the visitors inside their own 22 to set up a try for wing Ioan Davies. Harries added the extras to put Llandovery 13 – 6 up. This seemed to be the impetus that the home side needed as their 15-game unbeaten run in Division One came under threat. Wizards flanker Andrew Thomas set up an unconverted try for Davies in the corner before Davies kicked his third penalty of the afternoon to help the Wizards into a narrow 14 – 13 lead with half-hour to go. As the match entered the final quarter scrum-half Daniel Hawkins scored from a scrum five while Davies kicked another penalty in the 70th minute as the Wizards consolidated their lead at the top of the table.

The Wizards team that day was: Matthew Back; Sam Greenaway, Barry Maddocks, Scott Leighton, Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, Jason Hyatt, Greg Dix (rep Andrew Clatworthy), Mervyn Meredith, Steve Rees (rep Chris Gittins), Natano Tiatia (rep Marvin Thomas), Richard Morris, Andrew Thomas.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Gareth Newman, aided by Gavin Roberts and Steffan Davies.