Preview: Aberavon v Llanelli

Aberavon welcome Llanelli to the Talbot Athletic Ground this Friday evening in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 7:15 pm.

In the Premiership this season, Llanelli have won one from seven games so far. They kicked off their league campaign with defeats away to Carmarthen Quins (13 – 30) and home to RGC 1404 (8 – 41). Their win came at home to Bridgend at the end of January (26 – 14 bonus point win). Since then they have lost at Ebbw Vale (12 – 22), home to Cardiff (5 -22), home to Newport (26 – 47 with try bonus point) and, in their last outing, away to Merthyr (22 – 46 with try bonus point).

In the Premiership Cup, Llanelli lost all ten of their pool games and lost to Aberavon 43 – 17 at the Talbot Athletic Ground back in September, and 28 – 22 at Parc y Scarlets in October.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Llanelli have scored 16.0 points on average per game (ranked 9th) and 2.4 tries (ranked 8th). In “defence” they have conceded 31.7 points on average per game (ranked 12th) and 4.6 tries (ranked 12th). Aberavon have scored 25.8 points per game (ranked 5th) and 3.4 tries (ranked 5th), and conceded 21.0 points (ranked joint 2nd) and 2.2 tries (ranked 2nd).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Llanelli have met each other 43 times in the Welsh National League (including play-off games), with the West Walians leading the series 25 – 16 with 2 games drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 12 – 7 with 2 games drawn with Llanelli winning the last time the sides met at the ground (16 – 11 in 2019-20).

Looking back eighteen seasons ago to when the sides met on January 3rd 2004, the visitors scored early in the game when Welsh International wing Mark Jones sprinted 80 metres for a try under the posts. Centre Cerion Thomas added the extras. The Wizards clawed their way back into the game with three successive penalties by outside half Jamie Davies making the score 9 – 7 to Aberavon at the end of the first quarter. Thomas retook the lead for Llanelli with a try he converted but Davies reduced their lead to just two points with his fourth penalty of the afternoon. At the end of the half, Aberavon went back ahead when Davies scored a try to make the score 17 – 14. Thomas and Davies traded penalties early in the second half before wing Sam Greenaway crashed over for a try in the 68th minute to make the score 25 – 17. Thomas kicked a penalty late on but the Wizards came away with the 25 – 20 win.

The Wizards team that day was: Richard Lewis; Sam Greenaway, Darren Ryan (rep Aled James), David Hawkins, Ricky Price; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, James Jones, Mark Thomas (rep Greg Dix), Dafydd Owen, Chris Gittins, Ceri Thomas (rep Jamie Summers), Richard Morris (rep Steffan Edwards), Howard Merrett.

The referee for Friday’s game is Rhys Jones, aided by Wayne Davies and Dai Cambourne.