10 Jan Team to face Merthyr (A)
Bridgend Ravens head to the Wern to face reigning Indigo Premiership champions Merthyr on Saturday (2:30pm).
The Ravens’ last outing saw them pipped at the death for the fourth time this season. After trailing 21pts to 3 at half time, Bridgend hauled themselves back into the game to lead 36pts to 35 in the 79th minute. A late penalty from Matt O’Brien stole victory for the Black and Ambers of Newport, but Bridgend will be pleased to have picked up two bonus points in defeat.
Merthyr’s last game saw them narrowly nip Ebbw Vale to victory in front of the ScrumV cameras. The Ironmen won 17 pts to 19, leaving the Steelmen at the bottom of the table, two points behind Bridgend, albeit with a game in hand.
The sides last met in October and it was Bridgend who emerged victorious by 17pts to 12. Dominant throughout, Bridgend withstood a late resurgence from the Ironmen which saw them score tries through Matthew Jarvis and Ashley Norton. The hard work had already been done by the home side though, with Bridgend’s tries coming from Ben Mayers Davies and Tyler Williams in the first half Owen Howe kicked the rest of his sides’ points as the Ravens picked up their first win of the season.
The corresponding fixture last year was also played in October at the Wern. With ScrumV in attendance, Bridgend pushed the champions all the way, trailing by just 8 points with five minutes to go, before a late flurry of scores from the hosts gave the scoreline an unfair look, finishing 38-16 to Merthyr. Bridgend’s try that evening was scored by Connor Tantum, with the rest of the points coming from the boot of Jamie Murphy.
Bridgend ended last weekend’s game strongly and will be looking to take the confidence from scoring five second half tries into Saturday’s game at the Wern. Owen Howe, Dewi Cross and Tyler Williams are selected in the back three, with Nathan Edwards and Stuart Floyd Ellis continuing in midfield. Jamie Murphy and Chris Williams are again selected at half back.
Amongst the forwards, Garin Lloyd and Rhodri Apsee are rewarded for his fine cameo last time out with a start in a front row alongside Cai Lewis. Jack Pope and Ben Jones are the second row selection and in the back row, it’s a welcome return for Adam O’Driscoll from an injury which had ruled him out since October; partnering up with Travis Huntley and Dafi Davies.
There’s more good news for Bridgend Ravens; Rob Dudley Jones is back from a recent knock to take his place amongst Bridgend’s replacements.
Bridgend Ravens XV:
15. Owen Howe (Maesteg Quins)
14. Dewi Cross (Pencoed)
13. Stuart Floyd Ellis (Bridgend Athletic)
12. Nathan Edwards – capt (Maesteg Quins)
11. Tyler Williams (St Joseph’s)
10. Jamie Murphy (Pencoed)
9. Chris Williams (Llanharan)
1. Rhodri Apsee (Bridgend Athletic)
2. Garin Lloyd (Banwen)
3. Cai Lewis (Tondu)
4. Ben Jones (Kenfig Hill)
5. Jack Pope (Pencoed)
6. Dafi Davies (Llantwit Major)
7. Adam O’Driscoll (Heol y Cyw)
8. Travis Huntley (Tondu)
Replacements: 16. Gareth Harvey (Kenfig Hill) 17. Owen Jordan (Glynneath). 18. David Fellows (Cardiff Uni) 19. James Little (Llantrisant) 20. Rob Dudley Jones (Penclawdd) 21. Connor Tantum (Kenfig Hill) 22. Jacob Chilcott (St Joseph’s) 23. Owen Davies (Kenfig Hill)