Preview: Aberavon v Pontypridd

This Saturday, Aberavon (2nd – 43pts) welcome Pontypridd (11th – 13pts) to the Talbot Athletic Ground in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

Ponty have won two of their twelve league games this season. They won two of their opening five games as they beat Bridgend at home and Carmarthen Quins away, but lost to Cardiff, Swansea (picking up a try bonus point) and Aberavon. They have since lost seven in a row going down to Llanelli (picking up a try bonus point and a losing bonus point), Merthyr (picking up a losing bonus point), Newport, Ebbw Vale (losing bonus point), Cardiff, Llandovery and Bridgend.

Ponty are in the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup having secured their place by topping Pool B having picked up two bonus points in their loss to Bridgend and by winning at Aberavon at the start of last month. They will face Newport in Bridgend towards the end of March.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Pontypridd have scored 19.3 points on average per game (ranked 10th) and 2.0 tries (ranked 10th). In “defence” they have conceded 26.5 points on average per game (ranked 8th) and 3.3 tries (ranked 8th). Aberavon have scored 29.4 points per game (ranked 2nd) and 4.2 tries (ranked 2nd), and conceded 21.9 points (ranked 7th) and 2.5 tries (ranked 7th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Pontypridd have met each other 42 times in the Welsh National League, with Ponty leading the series 25 – 16 with 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 11 – 9 with them winning the last time the sides met at the ground in the league (25 – 19 in 2018-19).

Looking back at the fixture during the 2003-04 season, the Wizards won 32 – 11. In that game, the Wizards outscored their visitors 6 – 1 on try count with tries coming from centre David Hawkins, flanker Dean Thomas, wing Daran Griffiths, flanker Howard Merrett, hooker James Jones and centre Aled James. Outside half Jamie Davies kicked a conversion. For Pontypridd, wing Matthew Nuthall scored a try while outside half Lee Thomas kicked a penalty and a drop goal.

The Wizards team that day was: Ricky Price; Lenny Woodard, Aled James, David Hawkins (rep Gareth Jones), Daran Griffiths (rep Paul Morgan); Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Greg Dix, James Jones, Paul Breeze, Dafydd Owen (rep Steve Rees), Chris Gittins, Dean Thomas (rep Jamie Summers), Richard Morris, Howard Merrett.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Breakspear, aided by Carwyn Williams and Greg Morgan.