Preview: Swansea v Aberavon
Aberavon travel to St Helen’s this Thursday evening to take on Swansea in the Indigo Group Premiership, kick-off at 7:30 pm.
Last season, the Whites finished in tenth place in the Premiership after winning three of their eleven games.
During pre-season, Swansea played two games. First up was Northern Irish side Ballynahinch at Sketty Lane where the Whites ran out 63 – 7 winners with tries scored by scrum-half Rhodri Lewis (2), full-back Morgan Rees (2), wing Llien Morgan (2), flanker Jay Williams, prop/captain Tom Sloane and replacement hooker Garin Lloyd. Outside-half James Davies kicked eight conversions, whilst replacement Chris Morgans kicked one.
In their second pre-season game, Swansea drew 33 – 33 against Neath at the Gnoll with tries scored by wing Matthew Jenkins, scrum-half Connor Tantum, hooker Owen Thomas, replacement hooker Garan Williams and replacement centre Dan Edwards. Outside-half James Davies kicked four conversions.
Swansea, in their 150th season, got their Premiership campaign underway last weekend at Parc y Scarlets where Llanelli ran out 46 – 26 winners after leading 21 – 14 at half-time. The Whites picked up a bonus point by scoring four tries through prop Richard Murphy, full-back Harri Houston, hooker Owen Thomas and replacement Garan Williams. Outside-half Dan Edwards kicked three conversions.
Head-to-head, Aberavon and Swansea have met each other 37 times in the Welsh National League, with the teams tied on 18 wins each with 1 game drawn. At St Helen’s, Swansea lead 13 – 4 with 1 game drawn and have won the last two times the sides have met in the league at the ground.
Looking back to when the sides met at the ground in 2008-9, the Wizards narrowly won 29 – 27. The visitors led 17 – 8 at the interval after captain Ian Moore and David Pritchard scored tries. Jamie Davies converted both and kicked a penalty. For the Whites, Nicky Thomas scored a try and James Dixon kicked a penalty.
In the second half, Aberavon went into a 29 -13 lead with further tries scored by Richard Morris and Luke Hathaway. Davies converted George’s try. Lock Richard Kelly scored for the Whites.
Aberavon’s 16-point lead was whittled down when a fightback by the home side saw Kelly score his second try in the 79th minute with Thomas converting before Steffan Jones scored under the posts for replacement Damien Karuana to convert.
The Wizards team that day was: Paul Bamsey; Richard Carter, Luke Hathaway, Ashley Beck (rep Ricky Thomas), Steve Davies; Jamie Davies, David Pritchard; Neil White (rep Lloyd Howell), Marc Breeze (rep Brett Thomas), Paul Breeze (rep James Jones), Ian Moore (capt) (rep Nathan White), Andrew Fisher, Rory Gallagher (rep Darryl Thomas), Richard Morris, Chris Davies.
The referee for Thursday’s game, which will be shown live on S4C Clic (S4C Clic player, S4C Facebook Live page and S4C YouTube page), is Dewi Phillips, aided by Gwyn Morris, Richard Brace and Mark Jones, with TMO Jon Mason.