29 Nov Team to face Llanelli (A)
Bridgend Ravens travel to Parc y Scarlets to face Llanelli in their biggest Indigo Premiership game of the season so far on Friday evening (7:30pm).
The Ravens are desperate to bounce back from five damaging defeats which have left them rooted to the bottom of the early season standings. The latest defeat was a crushing reverse at Carmarthen Park against Carmarthen Quins, with the West Walians running in four tries in the last fifteen minutes to romp home by 38pts to 8. Ahead of Bridgend is a critical period, where they’ll face three of the teams around them in the league table. It starts on Friday with Llanelli, before games against RGC, Ebbw Vale and Swansea in the lead up to Christmas.
Llanelli have experienced a resurgence after starting the campaign with four consecutive defeats. They have won their last three games; at Ebbw Vale, at Aberavon and at home to Newport last weekend. They currently sit eight points ahead of Bridgend having played the same number of games as the visitors.
Both ties last season between the teams went Llanelli’s way. At Parc y Scarlets, it was a resounding 30pts to 3 victory for the home side, before a 25pts to 20 win at the Morganstone Brewery Field. Bridgend had the last laugh, finishing above the Scarlets and avoiding the end of season Promotion/Relegation playoff against Pontypool. The race to avoid relegation is on again for both sides with this tie set to play a key role in deciding who avoids the dreaded drop to the Specsavers Championship.
Owen Howe is back in at fullback, in a back three alongside Dewi Cross and Mike Powell. Nathan Edwards is another returning from injury, pairing up with Stuart Floyd Ellis in the centre. Chris Williams makes his 150th appearance for Bridgend Ravens, starting at scrum half alongside Jamie Murphy, who switches to outside half.
Up front, Rhys Forse comes into the front row – joining Gareth Harvey and Cai Lewis. Jack Pope is in from the start, next to Ben Jones in the second row, and the young trio of Joseph Grabham, Travis Huntley and Morgan Strong is given another chance to impress in the back row.
There could be Bridgend Ravens debuts for Wales u20 prop Rhys Davies and new signing Rob Dudley Jones, should they appear from the replacements bench. Another amongst the replacements keen to get back to action following a spell injured in scrum half Connor Tantum.
Bridgend Ravens XV:
15. Owen Howe (Maesteg Quins)
14. Mike Powell (Bridgend Athletic)
13. Stuart Floyd Ellis (Bridgend Athletic)
12. Nathan Edwards (capt) (Maesteg Quins)
11. Dewi Cross (Pencoed)
10. Jamie Murphy (Pencoed)
9. Chris Williams (Llanharan)
1. Rhys Forse (Dinas Powys)
2. Gareth Harvey (Kenfig Hill)
3. Cai Lewis (Tondu)
4. Jack Pope (Pencoed)
5. Ben Jones (Kenfig Hill)
6. Travis Huntley (Tondu)
7. Joe Grabham (Bridgend Athletic)
8. Morgan Strong (Tondu)
Replacements: 16. Garin Lloyd (Banwen) 17. Rhys Davies (Neyland) 18. Adam Court (Pontyclun) 19. James Little (Llantrisant) 20. Ryan Hall (Dinas Powys) 21. Rob Dudley Jones (Penclawdd) 22. Connor Tantum (Kenfig Hill) 23. Jacob Chilcott (St Joseph’s)
Bridgend Ravens are running a supporters bus to the game which leaves Sadlers Bar at 5:30pm, returning straight after the match. The cost to travel is £10 for Adults, £5 for Children. Contact Aled Thomas on 07532196963 as soon as possible to secure your seat. Sadlers Bar opens at 4:30pm for all your essential pre-journey refreshments.