Rugby preview for Saturday, 21st September 2019

Tom Harding Jones grabbed a first half brace for Pembroke

Pembrokeshire rugby fixtures for Saturday, September 21st (2.30pm):

WRU Championship:

Narberth v Trebanos

I dare say The Otters will be satisfied with what went on in Ebbw Vale - an impressive display coupled with the fact they have no more WRU Cup to worry about.

Now they look to build on their winning start in the Championship against Trebanos - and I'd back them to do it against a side beaten 23-7 by Neath on the opening day.

The kicking of Nick Gale has been a feature for Narberth so far but I think they will open up and score some tries here.

Predictably, there are a string of changes from last week.

Narberth: Nick Gale, Dafydd Pritchard, Joe Hutchings, Jake Jenkins, Josh Davies, Jonathan Rogers, Lewys Gibby, Daniel Jacobs, Rhodri Owens, Tom Kaijaks, Jake Baker, Roy Osborn, Rich Rees (capt), Tom Powell, Steff Phillips. Replacements: Kyle Hamer, Bradley Davies, Rhodri Owens, Alex Jenkins, Ianto Griffiths, Rhys Lane.

Tip: Narberth by 15.

WRU Plate Round 1:

Aberystwyth walkover v Milford Haven - Milford unable to field a side.

Carmarthen Athletic v Pembroke

Life in Division One is only two weeks old for Pembroke, but they will already feel like they've been through a roller coaster.

A 25-25 draw in Aber followed by a 24-25 loss to Whitland - the Scarlets could arguably have been sitting on two wins right now.

Tom Harding-Jones was one to impress against the Borderers, scoring twice, and while they'll have one eye on Llanelli Wanderers they won't want to lose this.

Coaches Geraint Lewis and Kyle Davies may tinker things with that game in mind but despite being in Division Two Athletic will be tough. 

They beat Nantgaredig 13-11 on Saturday and have a good new coach in Michael King, and new signings including Liam Price from Whitland.

It's what you call a banana skin tie, but one Pembroke should come through.

Tip: Pembroke by 12-15.

Fishguard v Crymych (doubles up as KO Cup quarter final)

Now this will be interesting.

The last time these two teams met in a knockout game Fishguard caused a shock, beating the Preseli Men in a Pembrokeshire Cup tie in August 2016.

And they will be up for this. The Seagulls have made a strong start this season and with James Griffiths back, Mark Jones flourishing at No 10 and a mix of youth and experience they look in good shape.

Crymych were well beaten at Yr Hendy on Saturday in a game where they failed to take chances, although skipper Rhys Davies stood out with a big display.

The Seagulls know how to mix it and the one division gap won't faze them. Crymych will need to dig deep.

Tip: A dogfight. And Crymych by 8.

Kidwelly v Tenby United

Last season Tenby edged it in Kidwelly, and Kidwelly edged it in Tenby.

Both were relegated and last week in Division Two West and again, Kidwelly edged it in Tenby.

Jonathan Evans has admitted his side need to find a way to win games and while the Seasiders arguably don't need this competition, they do need a morale boosting result.

I went against Kidwelly last week and they won. Maybe if I go with them this week it will have the reverse effect. You're welcome Tenby...

Tip: Kidwelly by 10.

Penclawdd v Whitland

Defensively, Whitland were below par against Pembroke and in the end, were one conversion away from losing.

Gareth Bennett will want his side to tighten up from that, starting against a Penclawdd team who like the Scarlets, were promoted from Division Two West last season.

One thing The Borderers have re-discovered done in recent seasons is a knack of winning tight games though, and while this will be a tough against a Penclawdd team with one league win from two so far, they start favourites here.

There are changes aplenty though, and a new look centre pairing of Jonathan Thomas and James Stephenson. No rest for Jack Mason either, starting just a week after competing in Ironman Wales.

Whitland: Geraint Jones, Olly Hughes, Jonathan Thomas, James Stephenson, Aron Ebsworth, Nico Setaro, Jac Howells, Aaron Mayne, Marc Jones (capt),Michael Ryan, Courtney Bowman, Raff Williams, Jamie Thomas, Jamie Lewis, Jack Mason. Replacements: Gethin Lewis, I Lewis, Dai Ebsworth, Ben Kirk, Danny Evans.

Tip: Whitland by 8.

WRU Bowl:

Bynea v Laugharne

I thought Laugharne might win in St Clears - but I didn't expect them to cut loose like that.

In Three West B Bynea have lost 8-55 (Bynea United) and 91-0 (New Dock Stars) so far. 

They may be away, but if Laugharne play anything like they can, they'll win.

Tip: Laugharne by a big margin.

Cardigan v Furnace United

Another Three West A v B clash.

Cardigan had to work for 40 minutes against St Davids Saturday before finishing strongly, centre Aaron Tomkinson among the players to stand out.

Furnace also have one win and one defeat to their names - but home advantage should see Cardigan through.

Tip: Cardigan by 10.

Haverfordwest v Betws

The Blues got up and running by beating Llangwm 38-3 on Saturday, new centre Unaia Balekinasiga showing his power with two tries.

Betws beat Penygroes 25-17 in Three West B on Saturday but Steve barnett's men should have too much.

Tip: Haverfordwest by 20.

Lampeter Town v Pembroke Dock Quins

The Quins have started well, and that 53-23 win over Neyland showed how dangerous they can be with parity up front.

Centres Jordan Asparassa and Jack Price were two to stand out and that partnership will produce a lot of tries this season.

Neil Machin may make changes again given it is a cup tie, but his team have already won 22-8 in Lampeter in the league so should progress.

Tip: Quins by 12.

Llandeilo v St Davids

Again, St Davids competed well early on against Cardigan before a one sided second half.

History suggests they will struggle on the road in a cup competition but coach Gethin Bateman will know the value of getting any kind of win.

Llandeilo lost 18-8 to Llangadog in Three West B on Saturday but if the Saints are to upset them, they must perform for 80 minutes.

Tip: Tight first half, but Llandelio by 15-20.

Llandybie v Aberaeron

Aberaeron made the last eight of this competition last season, and know what winning cup games on the road is all about.

Against a Llandybie team yet to win this season, I expect them to progress comfortable here.

Tip: Aberaeron by 20-25.

Llangwm v Cefneithin

Llangwm will fancy this.

They made life very hard for Cardigan in beating them on the opening day, and Pill Parks won’t be easy for anyone this season.

Cefeneithin are no strangers mind having been in the old Division Five West and notched a 21-5 win over Tumble Saturday.

If, and it is an if, they come down full strength for a Bowl tie then my hunch is the Llanelli based side. Just.

Tip: Cefeneithin by 5.

Penygroes v Neyland

Again, two former foes meet.

Neyland matched the Quins for 40 minutes Saturday, No 8 Iestyn Evans one of their standout players, but they couldn’t maintain it.

Perhaps not surprisingly given it was their first game of any kind in the campaign, and they need to send a full team here to get more match rugby under their belts.

If they do, and again it is an if, then they can win against a team with a draw and a defeat to their names so far.

Tip: Neyland by 3.

St Clears v Llanybydder

St Clears were given a real wake up call with that hammering of Laugharne Saturday – while Llanybydder were also well beaten at Aberaeron.

Both are capable of good runs in the Bowl and this could be one of the more fiercely contested ties.

Tim Poole will want to right some wrongs though and I think the Carmarthenshire Saints will go through.

Tip: St Clears by 7.