11 Oct Team to face Merthyr (H)
Bridgend Ravens welcome Merthyr to the Morganstone Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon in a return to Indigo Premiership action (2:30pm).
It’s been a long six weeks for the Ravens without a game. They started the season with an agonising, last minute reverse to Aberavon by 27pts to 26 before humiliation in the Specsavers Cup, losing at Beddau 34-21. All focus has been on getting things back on track over the last few weeks, with the reigning champions providing the next challenge of Steve Jones’ side.
The Champions got their season underway with a defeat at North Wales powerhouse RGC by 23pts to 17. They followed this up with a comprehensive home success over Pontypridd in the Specsavers Cup by 39pts to 19. Their last outing was a 42pts to 21 victory at home against Ebbw Vale. They’ve been the standard bearers in Wales over the last three seasons, winning the Premiership on each occasion, and will have their eyes set of more silverware this season.
Merthyr have the better of the head to head between the sides in recent times. Bridgend have just one win over Merthyr since they were promoted to the Premiership, a 40-10 Morganstone Brewery Field success in 2016. Last year’s game could have gone either way – and it was Bridgend who made the fast start with flier Caine Woolerton going over after just a minute. The class of the Champions eventually told as they claimed a 17pts to 24 victory.
Bridgend welcome back their contingent of players who have represented the Ospreys Development side since the end of October. The club continue to facilitate the development pathway with great success and this has seen Bridgend Ravens contracted Connor Tantum, Rhys Forse and Ben Warren make the step up. In addition, Bridgend Ravens will continue to see Ospreys Academy players gain all important game time with the club this campaign. Both Travis Huntley and Brad Roderick, Academy players of the region, will be hoping to make their debuts from the replacements bench in Saturday’s game.
Owen Howe continues at fullback in a back three alongside Tyler Williams, who scored two tries last time out, and Andrew Evans. Stuart Floyd Ellis and Nathan Edwards pair up in midfield, and it’s the experienced duo of Jamie Murphy and Chris Williams selected at half back.
Dafi Davies returns from injury to take his place at No8, his compatriots in the back row the impressive Ben Mayers Davies and Adam O’Driscoll. Jack Pope and Ben Jones comprise the second row, with the front row of Owen Jordan, Gareth Harvey and Cai Lewis ready to face the Champions.
Bridgend Ravens XV: 15. Owen Howe 14. Tyler Williams 13. Stuart Floyd Ellis 12. Nathan Edwards (capt) 11. Andrew Evans 10. Jamie Murphy 9. Chris Williams
1. Owen Jordan 2. Gareth Harvey 3. Cai Lewis 4. Jack Pope 5. Ben Jones 6. Ben Mayers Davies 7. Adam O’Driscoll 8. Dafi Davies
Replacements: 16. Iestyn Merriman 17. Rhodri Apsee 18. Ben Warren 19. James Little 20. Travis Huntley 21. Dan James 22. Jacob Chilcott 23. Brad Roderick