Preview: Aberavon v Newport

Aberavon take on Newport at the Principality Stadium this Sunday in the final of the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, kick-off at 5:35 pm.

The Black & Ambers finished the pool stage of the competition in top spot of the East division after winning eight of their ten games. Their only losses came at Pontypridd in September and at home to RGC 1404 in November. After topping the division, Newport saw off Bridgend in the quarter-finals (45 – 17) and Cardiff in the semi-final played at Sardis Road at the end of last month (34 – 28).

In the Indigo Group Premiership, the Black & Ambers have won eight from ten games and are in second place in the table with just one game remaining. They won their first eight games of the competition with the last six of them all bonus-point wins. This month saw them lose back-to-back as they went down at home 31 – 32 to RGC 1404 (picking up two bonus points) and, in their last outing on April 7th, going down 22 – 34 at home Merthyr.

The last time the Wizards played in the Principality Stadium was in the Swalec Cup final against Pontypridd eleven seasons ago. Ponty opened the scoring with an early Simon Humberstone penalty, but a Matthew Jarvis penalty after quarter of an hour levelled the scores. Aberavon took the lead after 24 minutes when Richard Carter scored a try converted by Jarvis. Ponty levelled the scores seven minutes later through a Lewis Jones try with Humberstone adding the extras. By half time Pontypridd were 20 – 10 up after a drop goal by Humberstone and a try by Darren Waters that Humberstone converted.

Within ten minutes of the restart Ponty were 30 – 10 up with Humberstone kicking a penalty and also converting Lewis Jones’s second try of the game. However, the Wizards hit back in the last quarter with tries scored by Sam Williams and Nathan Strong, with Jarvis converting both. Aberavon were now just six points behind with 13 minutes remaining. However, the Wizards suffered a sucker punch when Ponty claimed the restart to send Ryan Savage over for a pressure-relieving try which sealed the victory for the Sardis Road side.

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

The referee for Sunday’s game is Aled Evans, aided by Dewi Phillips, Mike English, Jamie Morgan and Stuart Vaudin, with TMO Ian Davies.