Rugby Preview for 11th January 2020

Championship Division:


Otters seeking three in a row

 Nick Gale - 14 points for NarberthTrebanos v Narberth

Narberth travel to Trebanos seeking three wins in a row after excellent results against Neath and Tata Steel, with the opposition in 12th place after only two wins and a draw from 12 starts.

Verdict: The Otters also seek a double after previously beating the side from Pontardawe by 34-12 at The Lewis Lloyd Ground. In that match Nick Gale had 14 points and in-form winger Daf Pritchard had a try to go with the hat-trick he picked up against Tata but coach Sean Gale knows there is no such thing as an easy win away from home so he will be looking for a clear-cut victory at The Park!


Division One (West):

Preseli Men seeking the double but will do well to bag a bonus point

Rhys Beaky Davies - leading Crymych by exampleGorseinon v Crymych

Crymych beat Gorseinon 30-10 at Park Lloyd Thomas but have only won twice since then to sit in 11th place, whilst the home side are five places ahead of them with five wins and five losses, that result apart.

Verdict:  Jack Davies (2), Lawrence Headlam and skipper Rhys 'Beaky' Davies grabbed their tries in that excellent win and coach Randall Williams will be eager for a repeat of that result but if pushed I would have to say The Preseli Men will do darned well to pouch a precious bonus point for pushing the opposition all the way.


Scarlets need to start winning – fast!

Scott Powell - desperate for Pembroke successLlanelli Wanderers v Pembroke

To say that Pembroke need to start winning is a bit of an understatement because after the remarkable feat of two successive promotions they are now lingering at the foot of the table with only one win and a draw against Aberystwyth from their first 11 starts.

Verdict: A number of the Scarlet’s defeats have been by very close margins and their only  success came when these sides met at Crickmarren - so they have something positive to go forward with.

Scott Powell, who skippers the side and played well as The Scarlets scored tries by Tom Kaijaks and Alex Thomas in the previous tussle once told me that I was a tipping jinx so I'll go for The Wanderers in the hope I put them off this time, even with home advantage!


Big tester for The Borderers

Courtney Bowman - playing well for WhitlandWhitland v Llangennech

Whitland are at home to third-placed Llangennech and The Borderers will be looking to score 35 points again but not concede 47 points as they did then!

Verdict: The Borderers are currently in fifth place, with six wins, a draw and four defeats - and on their day are capable of beating anybody as Jack Mason leads up front alongside Courtney Bowman, Aaron Mayne and Marc Jones.

With home advantage this is one that they can win, especially if Nico Setaro has his kicking boots on!


Division Two (West):

Seagulls need to start well at Underhill Park

Mumbles v Fishguard & Goodwick

The previous fixture between these sides saw Mumbles edge home 31-29 at The Moors to help them currently stand in second spot in the section table, whilst Fishguard & Goodwick are now tenth place after losing a number of games by similarly narrow margins.

Verdict: In that match The Seagulls scored tries by Rhys Evans (who also scored last weekend), skipper Chris Shousha, Liam Wilks and Robbie Jones but must aim to start well and not concede so many penalties in kickable positions - but I have to go for Mumbles in what could be a closer game than their respective league tables suggest!


In form Seasiders to win again

Joe Owen - scored in previous match for TenbyTenby United v Pontyberem

This really is a match that Tenby United can win, especially after their excellent away victory last Saturday. The Seasiders are seventh in the table, just one position below Pontyberem, who won 19-18 with home advantage when the teams last met.

Verdict: Tenby's previous game's scorers were tries from Luke Dedman and Joe Owen and eight points from Harry Rossiter - and coach Jonathan Evans, who is doing a great job with his young charges, will justifiably be looking for another morale-boosting victory!


Mariners might make it two away wins in a row

Sam Dolling - try-scoring No 8 for Milford HavenTycroes v Milford Haven

After five defeats on the trot in away games Milford Haven finally broke their duck in their most recent match at Kidwelly, where they won 34-17 - and now face another even tougher match as they travel to play Tycroes, who are third in the table and have won six and drawn one of their ten matches so far.

Verdict: But one of those defeats came at The Obs as Nathan Williams' team won 23-19 thanks to tries from Sam Dolling (2) and Dan Jenkins. Both are still playing really well, especially Dolling, but it will take a mighty effort to complete the double, which I think might be just beyond them against a very strong side at home – and a bonus point would be what they can earn here.


Division Three (West) A:

Laugharnees to gain revenge win

Laugharne v Haverfordwest

Undoubtedly the top clash in Division Three (West) A takes place at Wooford Park, where Laugharne entertain Haverfordwest as they sit respectively in fourth and second places.

Both have strong squads in a section where there are five prospective promotion candidates and these two are in with real shouts.

Verdict: The Blues won 27-0 at Fishguard Road in arguably their best performance of the season but will know that this is sure to be a much greater challenge because Gary Price's boys are looking good, despite their defeat in the WRU Bowl at Tumble last weekend.

It could be a real tester but although Steve Barnett will have his Haverfordwest side up for a challenge I think this could be The Laugharnees' chance of revenge!

Gary Price and Steve Barnett - old rivals nor against each other as coaches


Llangwm might win at Pill Parks with my help!

Gethin Thomas - hard-working Llangwm skipperLlangwm v Tregaron

With Llangwm sitting in 11th place and Tregaron two steps above them in the table this is a match that The Wasps' coaching staff will have targetted as a chance to claim their third win from 14 starts.

When they met in Tregaron a depleted Llangwm team lost 48-19 as Josh Hicks claimed a hat-trick as Aled Jones (3) and Chris Williams (2) were their top try scorers.

Verdict: Hicks has been absent lately and The Wasps could do with his physicality but they have other big influences like skipper Gethin Thomas, James Lewis and Ian Griffiths who can also feature - and I tip Tregaron in the hope that I can jinx them as well! So come on The Wasps!


All Blacks face table-toppers

Mark James - still going strong for NeylandNeyland v Lampeter

This is a really tough game for Neyland, despite home advantage over front runners Lampeter Town at The Athletic Ground.

The All Blacks lost 7-57 in Lampeter but Graham Richards, Steve Evans and Peter Davies deserve every credit for managing to keep their depleted squad going for long trips 'on the road'.

Old timers of the calibre of Mark James and especially Chris Busby (one of my top players over so many years in Pembrokeshire) have been joined by brothers Owain and Iestyn Evans alongside skipper George Williams and brother Ben, Henry McBeth and Toby Hayman, plus all the others, have shown they are true All Blacks!

Verdict: Neyland will give it 100% as ever but I have to go for a Lampeter win here!


Saints to struggle against powerful Quins

Jordan Asparassa - tries galore for the QuinsSt Davids v Pembroke Dock Harlequins

Like Llangwm, The Pembrokeshire Saints have shown real resilience in keeping going as new coach Gethin Bateman has had former incumbent Ianto Davies playing every match after 'retiring' last campaign. Bateman has even played, despite a chest ailment, and his biggest problem is trying to get a full side each week from their squad of 50+

Verdict: The Quins had similar difficulties last season but are now in the top half of the table as Jack Price leads by example and Jordan Asparassa is a proven try scorer.

Asparassa scored four tries when the teams met in Ty Ddewi and another two last Saturday - and the Quins have other excellent runners who will be looking to at least match their earlier 64-5 victory in St Davids!


St Clears v Llanybydder

When the teams met in Llanybydder it was St Clears who sneaked through by 28-25 but a lot has happened since then. 

Verdict: Although Llanybydder, having won half of their ten league matches are no mugs. I feel that the Carmarthenshire Saints are one of the best teams in this section and with home advantage I think they will win comfortably!


WRU National Bowl - Quarter Final


Baglan v Aberaeron

Can Aber claim an historic last-eight place? Yes they can!

Aberaeron travel to the Port Talbot area for a vital match in their history as they play Baglan in an attempt at reaching the last eight of this national competition for the first time.

Baglan play at Ty Isaf Playing Fields having won six, drawn one and lost one of their eight matches in Division Three (West Central) A and are currently fourth in their section table.

Verdict: The teams have never met before and Aberaeron know they face a huge challenge - but if they can play at full strength and to their full potential I believe they can win this one!