03 Jan Team to face Newport (H)
Bridgend Ravens welcome Newport to the Morganstone Brewery Field in their first Indigo Premiership match of the new decade on Saturday (2:30pm).
The Ravens had a mixed December, but two victories (over Swansea and Ebbw Vale) have hauled Steve Jones’ side from the bottom of the table. There was disappointment on Boxing Day, with a resounding defeat to Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground, but the Ravens will be desperate to return to winning ways and ease their relegation worries when tenth placed Newport come to town.
The Black and Ambers have enjoyed a quieter festive period, with their last game a 26pts to 20 defeat to Carmarthen Quins on 14th December. They sit four points ahead of eleventh placed Bridgend, with two games in hand. They’ve won three games so far this season; against Bridgend, Ebbw Vale and Llandovery.
The game between the sides earlier this season went comfortably Newport’s way. Despite an encouraging opening ten minutes, the Black and Ambers blew the Ravens away in a resounding 22pts to 0 success.
After mixing up team selection for their last match, Bridgend revert back to a lineup closer to the one which picked up two big wins in December. Owen Howe comes back in at fullback, alongside Julian Mogg and Dewi Cross in the back three. Stuart Floyd Ellis makes his 50th Bridgend Ravens appearance in midfield alongside Nathan Edwards, and Jamie Murphy switches to 10, pairing with Chris Williams.
Morgan Strong is back at number 8 in a back row with Dafi Davies and Joseph Grabham. Jack Pope and Ben Jones are the second row pairing and it’s a front three of Owen Jordan, Iestyn Merriman and Cai Lewis.
15. Owen Howe (Maesteg Quins)
14. Julian Mogg (Clifton)
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. Owen Jordan (Glynneath)
2. Iestyn Merriman (Bridgend Athletic)
3. Cai Lewis (Tondu)
4. Jack Pope (Pencoed)
5. Ben Jones (Kenfig Hill)
6. Dafi Davies (Llantwit Major)
7. Joe Grabham (Bridgend Athletic)
8. Morgan Strong (Tondu)
Replacements: 16. Garin Lloyd (Banwen) 17. Rhodri Apsee (Bridgend Athletic) 18. David Fellows (Cardiff Uni) 19. James Little (Llantrisant) 20. Travis Huntley (Tondu) 21. Connor Tantum (Kenfig Hill) 22. Jacob Chilcott (St Joseph’s) 23. Brad Roderick (Resolven)