Preview: Llanelli v Aberavon

On Saturday afternoon, Aberavon (4th – 43 pts) travel to Parc y Scarlets to take on Llanelli (12th – 14 pts) in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 1:30 pm.

Llanelli have won two of their twelve league games this season. They kicked off their season with a bonus point home win over Swansea before losing their next four games with losses against Aberavon (but picking up a losing bonus point), RGC 1404, Carmarthen Quins (try and losing bonus points) and Cardiff. At the end of October, they had a bonus point win away to Pontypridd. Since then they have lost six straight games going down to Llandovery, Swansea, Ebbw Vale (twice), RGC 1404 and Carmarthen Quins (try bonus point).

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Llanelli have scored 22.7 points on average per game (ranked 8th) and 2.9 tries (ranked 8th). In “defence” they have conceded 36.2 points on average per game (ranked 12th) and 5.0 tries (ranked 12th). Aberavon have scored 27.9 points per game (ranked 2nd) and 3.9 tries (ranked 2nd), and conceded 22.3 points (ranked 7th) and 2.6 tries (ranked 7th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Llanelli have met each other 45 times in the Welsh National League (including playoffs), with the West Walians leading the series 25 – 18 with 2 games drawn. At Llanelli, the home side leads 18 – 4 with the Wizards winning the last time the sides met in the league at the ground (48 – 18 in 2019-20).

Looking back to the 2003-04 season, when Aberavon met Llanelli at Stradey Park, Llanelli outside half Ceiron Thomas and his opposite number Jamie Davies traded penalties before Daran Griffiths scored a try at the end of the opening quarter. Davies converted and kicked another penalty after half-hour to give the Wizards a 13 – 3 lead. However, a try by wing Daniel Rogers and a conversion by Thomas saw Aberavon’s lead reduce to just 3 points at the interval. The home side took the lead early in the second half when full-back Lee Byrne released centre Richard Davies for an unconverted try. A third Davies penalty helped the Wizards retake the lead before Richard Lewis scored a try in the corner. Davies added the extras to give the Wizards a 23 – 15 lead after 64 minutes. Rogers scored his second try of the game soon after with Thomas converting to reduce Aberavon’s lead to just one point. Ricky Price scored the Wizards third try of the game in the last ten minutes of the game. Thomas and Davies traded further penalties late on with the Aberavon holding out to win 31 – 25 despite playing the last ten minutes down to 14 players.

The Wizards team that day was: Richard Lewis; Daran Griffiths, Aled James, Gareth Jones (rep Darren Ryan), Ricky Price; Jamie Davies, Dan Hawkins; Dinlle Francis (rep Mike Harris), James Jones (rep Jon Owen), Paul Breeze, Steve Rees (rep Dafydd Owen), Chris Gittins, Jamie Summers (rep Matthew Powell), Richard Morris, Steffan Edwards.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Connor, aided by Dewi Phillips and Jamie Morgan.