Bridgend Ravens head to the Gnoll on Saturday afternoon for a huge Principality Premiership clash with Neath (KO 2:30pm).
Neath have recruited strongly over the summer as they look to secure their place in next season’s reduced Principality Premiership. Former Raven Lloyd Evans along with Dragons’ Scott Andrews and Luke Garrett are just some of the stellar signings made by the Welsh All Blacks, who are now under the leadership of Head Coach Simon King.
Both sides kicked off their respective campaigns with defeats away from home. Bridgend picked up two bonus points in a 32-25 reverse at Cross Keys, whereas Neath were humbled 37-19 by North Walians RGC at Ruthin RFC.
Bridgend have the better of the recent head to head between the sides; winning four of the last five encounters. This includes three victories last season, two at the Morganstone Brewery Field and a December success at the Gnoll. Encounters between the sides are usually close in score, with plenty of open and exciting rugby.
Bridgend largely stick with the squad that picked up two points on the road last time out, but are bolstered by those returning from injury. The back three remains unchanged, with Aaron Grabham and Tyler Williams, both try scorers in the previous two games, joined by the powerful Will Holley. Stuart Floyd Ellis partners Nathan Edwards in midfield with Jamie Murphy and Chris Williams at half back.
The back row of Tom Morgan, Jack Pope and Adam O’Driscoll gets another opportunity to impress. Bonus point try scorer Chris John is reunited with Shaun O’Rourke in the boiler house, with Rhodri Apsee, Gareth Harvey and Cai Lewis again selected in the front row.
Bridgend supporters will be delighted to see Dafi Davies amongst the replacements after a short injury lay off, along with Garyn Daniel who was part of the Ospreys Development Squad that lost to the Dragons at Ystrad Mynach last weekend.
Bridgend XV: 15. Tyler Williams 14. Aaron Grabham 13. Stuart Floyd Ellis 12. Nathan Edwards (capt) 11. Will Holley 10. Jamie Murphy 9. Chris Williams
1. Rhodri Apsee 2. Gareth Harvey 3. Cai Lewis 4. Chris John 5. Shaun O’Rourke 6. Jack Pope 7. Adam O’Driscoll 8. Tom Morgan
Replacements: 16. Iestyn Merriman 17. Ollie Evans 18. Garyn Daniel 19. James Little 20. Dafi Davies 21. Dan James 22. Ryan Evans 23. Morgan Jones