Three times National Cup champions Bridgend Ravens head to Glynneath in Round 1 of this year’s competition on Saturday afternoon (2:30pm).
‘The Germans’ currently sit at the basement of the WRU National Championship with just nine points from their 11 league games. They do have games in hand on the sides above them and will be looking to start their upturn in form when the Ravens visit Abernant Park on Saturday afternoon.
Bridgend kicked off the second half of the Principality Premiership campaign with a hard fought, but disappointing defeat at Zip World Stadium against RGC. The Ravens trailed 23-14, and held the momentum with ten minutes go but a late onslaught from the North Walians ensured a comprehensive, albeit unfair, 47-14 victory. It’s about bouncing back for Bridgend as they look to challenge for a trophy which they last famously won in 2015.
There is one previous encounter between the sides in the WRU National Cup, with Bridgend coming out on top by 9-42 in January 1989.
Fourteen out of the starting fifteen selected by boss Matt Silva are from local clubs which further reinforces the club’s commitment to development. Jonny Phillips makes his first start for the club at 15 with Mike Powell and Ryan Griffiths, making his fiftieth appearance, on the wings. Nathan Edwards and Jamie Murphy pair up in midfield. Having impressed for Heol y Cyw of late, Jacob Lloyd returns to Bridgend colours and plays alongside Chris Williams who makes his first appearance of the season.
The front row comprises former Glynneath man Owen Jordan, Iestyn Merriman and Rhodri Apsee. Chris John and Kieran Martin are the selection at second row. Captain Zac O’Driscoll returns from his suspension to lead the side alongside Tom Morgan and Ashton Evans.
A new face for Bridgend supporters is young Tonyrefail prop Declan Thomas who will hope to make his Bridgend debut from the replacements bench.
Bridgend XV: 15. Jonny Phillips 14. Ryan Griffiths 13. Nathan Edwards 12. Jamie Murphy 11. Mike Powell 10. Jacob Lloyd 9. Chris Williams
1. Owen Jordan 2. Iestyn Merriman 3. Rhodri Apsee 4. Chris John 5. Kieran Martin 6. Tom Morgan 7. Zac O’Driscoll (capt) 8. Ashton Evans
Replacements: 16. Gareth Harvey 17. Declan Thomas 18. Ollie Evans 19. Matthew John 20. Adam O’Driscoll 21. Connor Tantum 22. Ryan Evans 23. Garin Lougher