Bridgend Ravens welcome Bedwas to the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field for an all-important Foster’s Challenge Cup semi final clash on Saturday (2:30pm).
The Ravens will look to put a mixed league campaign behind them and continue their fine Foster’s Challenge Cup form, which has seen them win four out of the five games which they have played. Impressive group stage victories over Aberavon, Neath (twice) and Cardiff (twice) booked Bridgend a semi final with the high-flying Gwent side, with a place in the competition’s second ever final on the line.
Bedwas won through an all-Gwent pool with Cross Keys and Newport. A victory in the final matchday at Rodney Parade gave them a semi final place, and they will now visit the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field following a coin toss to decide the host venue.
Bridgend have again given opportunities to youngsters as the development of this young squad under Matt Silva looks to take another significant step. The win against Neath in a friendly match last time saw seven teenagers involved in the squad, with Pencoed’s Jacob Lloyd kicking ten points on debut and Connor Tantum, scoring, assisting and picking up man of the match. Both are again involved, amongst the replacements, as they look to help steer their home town to a second major final in three years.
Mathew Edwards comes back in at full back in an exciting back three lineup alongside Tom O’Flaherty and Garin Lougher. Joseph Gatt, making his fiftieth Bridgend appearance, and Ryan Evans continue their partnership in midfield with Joseph Scrivens and Chris Williams are Silva’s selection at half back.
The team is led by Ashton Evans at No8, with Tom Morgan moving to openside flanker. The experienced Matthew John comes in at 6. Kyle Maiden and Jon Kenny get the nod in the second row, with Cai Lewis, Iestyn Merriman and Garyn Daniel the front three.
Bridgend XV: 15. Mathew Edwards 14. Tom O’Flaherty 13. Joseph Gatt 12. Ryan Evans 11. Garin Lougher 10. Joseph Scrivens 9. Chris Williams
1. Cai Lewis 2. Iestyn Merriman 3. Garyn Daniel 4. Jon Kenny 5. Kyle Maiden 6. Matthew John 7. Tom Morgan 8. Ashton Evans (capt).
Replacements: 16. Huw Wilkes 17. Eddie Drake 18. Lewis Francis 19. Gareth Beer 20. Jon Dawe 21. Connor Tantum 22. Jacob Lloyd 23. Daniel Howells