Preview: Pontypridd v Aberavon

After a six-week break for the Wizards, rugby returns this Saturday as Aberavon travel to Sardis Road to take on Pontypridd in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

Ponty have only played one game in the Premiership this season so far, with them winning at home 31 – 24 against Carmarthen Quins. The home side led 19 – 14 at the break after wing Dale Stuckey scored a try with outside-half Diggy Bird adding the extras and kicking four first-half penalties. Bird kicked three more penalties in the second half with Stuckey kicking another.

In the Indigo Group Premiership Cup, Ponty played their last pool stage game last weekend when they travelled to Parc Eirias. There, they beat RGC 1404 30 – 25, resulting in them finishing fourth in the East division. They won five of their pool games and will play Llandovery away in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Pontypridd have met each other 40 times in the Welsh National League, with the Sardis Road side leading the series 25 – 14 with 1 game drawn. At Sardis Road, Ponty lead 16 – 3 with 1 game drawn with the Wizards winning the last time the sides met at the ground (16 – 15 in 2019-20).

Looking back to the 2011-12 season when the sides met at the ground, it was a top-class Aberavon performance that brought a rare home loss for Pontypridd. In wet conditions, the Wizards were down 6 – 0 after 15 mins having had flanker Darryl Thomas sin-binned and former Ponty captain Nathan Strong helped off after getting a rib injury that would keep him out for a month. Ponty’s points came from the boot of outside half Dean Gunter. Halfway through the half, the Wizards scored their first try when wing Richard Carter touched down. Two penalties by outside half Jamie Davies put Aberavon ahead 11 – 6 at the interval. It took until the hour mark for the next score to come when Carter scored his second try with Davies adding the extras. Two further penalties by Davies made the final score 24 – 6 to the Wizards.

The Aberavon team that day was: Howard Thomas; Richard Carter, Ben John, Will Price, Richard Thomas (rep Darren Ritchie); Jamie Davies (rep James Donovan), David Pritchard; Lloyd Howell (rep Rowan Jenkins), Marc Breeze, Anthony Edwards (rep Will Taylor), Ian Moore (rep Nathan Brown), Sam Williams, Darryl Thomas (rep Gareth Harvey), Nathan Strong (rep Richard Morris), Chris Davies (capt).

The referee for Saturday’s game is Ben Whitehouse, aided by Simon Rees and John Darcy.