Bridgend Ravens head to double Principality Premiership champions Merthyr on Friday night, for a clash in front of the ScrumV cameras (7:10pm).
The Ravens tasted back to back defeats for the first time this season with an agonising 35-44 home reverse to Pontypridd. The encouraging display left Bridgend with a bonus point for scoring four tries, continuing their run of taking points from all five league games so far this season.
Merthyr bounced back from a home reverse to Aberavon by thumping RGC in Colwyn Bay. An impressive performance, saw them take a bonus point win from Zipworld Stadium. Five tries, including a score from influential skipper Craig Locke helped the Ironmen to a 34-10 victory, keeping them in the early season hunt at the top of the table.
The sides met once last season. The game at the Wern was an open encounter in which Merthyr came out on top by 29pts to 15. There was plenty of heart shown by the young Bridgend side that day who were left to rue a sloppy twenty minutes in the middle of the game in which the Ironmen capitalised. No such lapses of concentration will be tolerated in the high stakes game on Friday.
Bridgend shuffle their pack as they look to get back to winning ways. The fast track at the Wern Sports Park will allow both teams to throw the ball around. The front row comprises Rhodri Apsee, Iestyn Merriman and Cai Lewis. James Little and Shaun O'Rourke are selected in the boiler house. Tom Morgan, Dafi Davies and Jack Pope are the back row.
Amongst the backline, Tyler Williams comes in at full back, with Mikey Kennedy switching to the wing. Two-try Aaron Grabham is also retained in the back three looking to continue his good form. Captain Nathan Edwards partners Stuart Floyd Ellis in the centre. Fresh from a try scoring return to the team, Connor Tantum gets the nod alongside Jamie Murphy at half back.
Bridgend XV: 15. Tyler Williams 14. Aaron Grabham 13. Stuart Floyd Ellis 12. Nathan Edwards (capt) 11. Mikey Kennedy 10. Jamie Murphy 9. Connor Tantum
1. Rhodri Apsee 2. Iestyn Merriman 3. Cai Lewis 4. James Little 5. Shaun O'Rourke 6. Jack Pope 7. Dafi Davies 8. Tom Morgan
Replacements: 16. Gareth Harvey 17. Ollie Evans 18. Garyn Daniel 19. Mathew Donnelly 20. Aled Evans 21. Chris Williams 22. Ryan Evans 23. Dylan Moss