Preview: Aberavon v Ebbw Vale

Aberavon welcome Ebbw Vale to the Talbot Athletic Ground this Saturday in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

In the Premiership this season, the Steelmen have won three from seven games. They won one of their opening five games with them beating Llanelli but losing to Merthyr, Cardiff, Newport (losing bonus point) and RGC 1404. Since then, the Gwent side have won their last two games – both at home – with them seeing off both Swansea and Llandovery.

In the Premiership Cup, Ebbw Vale won two of their ten pool games with them beating Merthyr away and Pontypridd home at the start of the campaign before losing the next eight games.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Ebbw Vale have scored 16.7 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 2.0 tries (ranked 11th). In “defence” they have conceded 25.3 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 3.7 tries (ranked 10th). Aberavon have scored 29.0 points per game (ranked 4th) and 4.0 tries (ranked 4th), and conceded 19.8 points (ranked 2nd) and 2.2 tries (ranked 2nd).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Ebbw Vale have met each other 34 times in the Welsh National League, with the Wizards narrowly leading the series 17 – 16 with 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 12 – 4 with 1 game drawn with them winning the last time the sides met at the ground (26 – 11 in 2019-20).

Looking back to when the sides met at the ground during the 2006-7 season, the Wizards outscored the then league leaders 5 – 3 on try count to run out 39 – 19 winners. However, there was never a 20-point difference between the two sides, though Aberavon were more than willing to play running rugby and Scarlets under-20 centre Richard Thomas was outstanding with a two-try contribution. Both packs had their moments with Richard Morris searching for a club record-breaking 126th try and Ian Moore and Darryl Thomas supporting to the hilt, yet the Ebbw Vale back-row of John Bowd, Hywel Jenkins and skipper Craig Cleaver never yielded. Darren Ryan, Jamie Davies and Liam Gadd also scored tries for the Wizards while Davies kicked 14 points with the boot. For the Steelmen, tries were scored by Simon Hunt, Rhodri Dicks and Andrew Bevan, whilst David Langdon converted two tries.

The Wizards team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Richard Thomas (rep Paul Bamsey), Darren Ryan, James Pike; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, Chris Wells, James Jones (rep Lloyd Howell), Paul Morgan (rep Andrew Fisher), Chris Gittins (capt), Ian Moore, Richard Morris, Darryl Thomas (rep Simon Peters).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Whitehouse, aided by Jason Griffiths and Karim Cosslett.