Preview: Newport v Aberavon

This Sunday, Aberavon travel to Rodney Parade to take on Newport in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

The Black & Ambers have lost all four of their league games this season so far, but all of them have been within four points, meaning Newport have picked up a losing bonus point in all four games. They started their campaign with a narrow 22 – 25 home loss to Ebbw Vale before narrowly losing again at home, this time to Cardiff (32 – 34). Newport picked up a try bonus point in that game as well as a losing bonus point. This month the Black & Ambers have played twice on the road in the league, narrowly losing 13 – 15 at Llandovery and 20 – 24 at Swansea in the middle of the month.

Last weekend, in the Premiership Cup, Newport played their first Cup game with them getting a bonus point 45 – 17 win over Swansea at St Helen’s, outscoring the home side by 7 tries to 2.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Newport have scored 21.8 points on average per game (ranked 9th) and 2.5 tries (ranked 9th). In “defence” they have conceded 24.5 points on average per game (ranked 7th) and 2.8 tries (ranked 3rd). Aberavon have scored 36.7 points per game (ranked 1st) and 5.7 tries (ranked 1st), and conceded 21.5 points (ranked 4th) and 2.8 tries (ranked 5th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Newport have met each other 45 times in the Welsh National League, with the Black and Ambers leading the series 24 – 20 with 1 game drawn. At Rodney Parade, Newport lead 14 – 8 but the Wizards have won on their last two visits to the ground (38 – 35 in 2018-19; 10 – 8 in 2019-20).

Aberavon’s first league win at the ground took place at the start of the 2006-07 season. Despite having a strong wind at their backs in the first half Newport failed to take advantage as the teams were tied at 9 – 9 at the interval, with James Dixon and Jamie Davies having each landed three penalty goals. The Wizards lost Dan Hawkins to the sin bin early in the second half but didn’t concede a score until they were back up to full strength when Nathan Williams scored a try that Dixon converted. However, the scores were tied again just minutes later when Liam Gadd touched down with Davies adding the extras. The Wizards took the lead for the first time in the 75th minute as Davies kicked a penalty and managed to hold on to win even though the game remained on a knife edge right until the final whistle. The 19 – 16 victory was the Wizards first win at Rodney Parade since 1984.

The Wizards team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Richard Thomas (rep Gareth Knox), Darren Ryan (rep David Hawkins), Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Dan Hawkins (rep Ricky Richards); Mike Harris (rep Neil White), Chris Wells (rep Marc Breeze), Anthony Edwards, Paul Morgan (rep Steve Phillips), Chris Gittins (capt), Ian Moore, Richard Morris, James Davies (rep Darryl Thomas).

The referee for Sunday’s game is Rhys Jones, aided by Tom Spurrier, Mark Butcher and Rob Mota, with TMO Wayne Davies.