Rugby Preview 15th February 2020


Championship Division:


Tough task for The Otters


Daf Pritchard - needs to be in good form for The OttersNarberth v Bedwas

Narberth return to championship rugby after their enforced break and must face a real challenge as they entertain Bedwas, which is near Caerphilly, to take on a very strong side that is currently in third place, having won 11 out of their 14 matches so far.

They are particularly strong on their own patch with a powerful pack and some skillful backs after careful recruitment that is funded by an excellent sponsorship scheme.

The Otters currently lie in a steady seventh spot, having won seven and drawn one of the 14 games so far, but lost 38-13 when the teams met in Bedwas.

Verdict: You can never write off Sean Gale's team, especially with home advantage but I can only see a comfortable win for the visitors, perhaps with a bonus point, but I hope Narberth prove me wrong!


Division One (West):


Cocklemen to edge out Crymych


Randall Williams - Crymych coach must be desperate for victoryCrymych v Penclawdd

Crymych know that home wins are vital if they are to retain their Division One Status and on Saturday play host to Penclawdd, who are in eighth place, just three places above them and having won seven and drawn one of their 13 games.

I'm sure that canny coach Randall Williams will emphasize the importance of victory to his relatively young team because time is running out for a major revival.

Verdict: I wish The Preseli Men luck - but I think they might just be shaded out and might have to settle for a losing bonus point.


Borderers to gun down Gorseinon


Gorseinon v Whitland

Whitland are fifth in the section table as reward for their total commitment and are in fifth position with seven successes and a draw in 13 matches - and they face an interesting encounter at Gorseinon, who are one place below them, having won seven and lost seven so far.

Verdict: If you were sensible you would have to go for the homesters, who are traditionally strong at home but I have a feeling that The Borderers might edge this one, as they have done a couple of other tight tussles - but it is likely to be close for Gareth Bennett's Boys!

Dai Ebsworth, Nico Setaro and Gareth Bennett will have Whitland well primed for another tight tussle


Emlyn hot favourites at Ddol Wiber


Geraint Lewis - coach for Pembroke at Newcastle EmlynNewcastle Emlyn v Pembroke

Pembroke travel to Ddol Wiber knowing they face their toughest test so far in this top versus bottom clash against Newcastle Emlyn, who lie in top position having lost only once in their 13 outings.

In stark contrast, The Scarlets have only two wins and a draw from 14 starts and are already close to relegation after two wonderful promotions on the trot.

Verdict: Geraint Lewis's squad will give 100% but so far have rarely managed to field a regular full-strength side in this very tough section and my money has to be on Emlyn on their relative position.


Division Two (West):


Seagulls seeking revenge in top Pembrokeshire derby


Fishguard & Goodwick v Tenby United

One of the most interesting fixtures of the weekend must be the Pembrokeshire derby at The Moors as Fishguard and Goodwick entertain Tenby United.

The Seasiders lingered near the foot of the table for a while but Jonathan Evans' policy of giving talented youngsters a chance has paid off with some good results which have pushed them up to sixth in the section, with six wins and two draws against eight defeats.

The Seagulls, meanwhile, have dropped into the relegation zone, just above the bottom two, having lost quite a few games they had chances to win as their record now reads won four, drawn one, with seven defeats.

Verdict: This is sure to be a battle royale as was their previous tussle at Heywood Lane, where The Seasiders edged home by 15-14 after The Seagulls had been in front until late on – but I think the homesters might gain revenge here, although not by much!

Nathan and Steve Jenkins - eager for The Seagulls to play a full 80 minutes


Mariners’ match off because of bereavement at Nant


Milford Haven v Nantgaredig

*Match postponed


Division Three (West):


Blues too strong for Teifisiders


Mikey Jones - key role for Blues skipperHaverfordwest v Cardigan

Haverfordwest play host to Cardigan to continue an old rivalry started when they were two of the top teams locally but they find themselves in Division Three (West) with The Blues in fourth place and The Teifisiders in eighth, having won six out of 14 games so far.

The Blues, under Steve Barnett, have nine wins, a draw and four defeats - and are looking to build to a good run-in to the season’s end.

Verdict: Haverfordwest hold the edge, especially with home advantage - and I expect them to collect a bonus-point win.



Llan will use home advantage to good effect


Llanybydder v Llangwm

Llangwm face a long trek to Llanybydder having lost at home by 25-3 earlier in the season. The Wasps are another side in the bottom two who make sure every fixture is fulfilled and so far have collected two wins and a recent draw against Neyland alongside 13 defeats.

Verdict: This is likely to be a real challenge for The Wasps and I expect Llanybydder to add to their tally of seven wins to match their seven losses - but they'll know they've been in a battle, especially in the first half as The Wasps will come out at them like dervishes!


All Blacks too sharp for struggling Saints

Steve Evans - eager for a Neyland win 

Neyland v St Davids

Neyland play hosts to St Davids in a bottom-three clash at the Athletic Ground, with basement boys Ty Ddewi yet to collect even a bonus point from their 15 defeats on the trot. The All Blacks, meanwhile, have enjoyed three wins and a draw in 13 completed fixtures and Graham Richards and Steve Evans will be expecting to boost their points tally here.

Verdict: Gethin Bateman has done a great job of keeping The Saints together and recent results have shown an improvement - but I'd still go for The Pembrokeshire All Blacks, especially on home territory!


Saints eager to use pack power to good effect


Pembroke Dock Harlequins v St Clears

St Clears are also in the mix for promotion but face a real challenge to their hopes from Pembroke Dock Harlequins at Bierspool. The Quins started the season with a bang but are now sixth, having won eight and lost six games so far, whilst the Carmarthenshire Saints have won 11, drawn won and lost three, so they know they can ill-afford any more defeats.

Verdict: The Quins have real fire-power behind the scrum but the focal point is likely to be the relative strengths of the packs - and I believe that if this proves so then I think The Saints might just grasp their twelfth win.


Laugharne to snatch verdict in section’s top tussle


Gary Price - has coached Laugharne well this seasonLampeter Town v Laugharne

Match of the day in this division could well be outside the county as Lampeter Town are at home to Laugharne in a battle between two of the three teams battling for promotion.

Lampeter are currently top with 12 wins, a draw and two losses with Laugharne third, having won 10 of their 12 matches, alongside a draw.

Verdict: This will be a real tester for Laugharne as they try to catch up on fixtures missed because of their run in the National Bowl competition. Gary Price will make sure his team is well prepared and if their pack gains parity, as I expect, they should claim a vital victory.


Aber hope to stay injury free in Ceredigion derby


Tregaron v Aberaeron

Tregaron are at home to Aberaeron in something of a local derby, having won five out of 15 games in the section whilst Aberaeron have played 13 games because of their splendid form in the WRU Bowl, winning eight, with two draws.

Verdict: Aberaeron must be favourites but Tregaron will be hoping that Aber are already focussed on their semi-final there - although I still think that the visitors will win here!