Preview: Newport v Aberavon

Posted by Gareth Gange on 26/01/2018

Aberavon return to action this coming Sunday with them taking on Newport in the second round of the WRU National Cup at Rodney Parade, kick off 2:30pm.

The sides are yet to meet in the Principality Premiership this season with them due to meet in that competition at the Talbot Athletic Ground in April. In the first phase of the season Newport finished in fifth place in the Premiership East after winning six of their fourteen games. Their wins came at home to Pontypridd, Bedwas and Ebbw Vale and away to Ebbw Vale, Cross Keys and Bargoed. In their first game of the second phase the Rodney Parade side defeated Cardiff 29 - 17 at home for a bonus point win.

In the first round of the National Cup, Newport won 24 - 20 at fellow Premiership side Swansea at the beginning of the month. The Black & Ambers led 10 - 6 at the interval and 24 - 6 after 53 minutes, with the All Whites responding with 14 points after the 78th minute of the game.

Aberavon and Newport have met each other eight times in the Cup, with results split between the sides. Four of the games were quarter-finals, with one a semi-final. 

The sides first met in Cup during its inaugural season of 1971-2 when Aberavon beat Newport 28 - 6 in the quarter-finals of the Schweppes Cup at the Talbot Athletic Ground. Six seasons later they met at the semi-final stage at Cardiff Arms Park where Newport won 10 - 6. During the 1981-2 season the sides met again at the quarter-final stage, this time at Rodney Parade, with the Wizards winning 18 - 0. 

The clubs had to wait another nineteen years before they next met in the Cup. Now named the Principality Cup, Aberavon (Division One) had to travel to Newport (Welsh Scottish League) with the home match day squad including the likes of Matt Mostyn (Ireland), Andy Marinos (Wales), Shane Howarth (Wales), Adrian Garvey (South Africa), Simon Raiwalui (Fiji), Jason Jones-Hughes (Wales) and Rod Snow (Canada). In that game the Wizards trailed 18 - 30 at the interval and ended up losing 18 - 56.

In 2004-5 the sides met at the quarter-final stage of the Konica Minolta Cup with Aberavon winning 18 - 17 at the Talbot Athletic Ground. They met again the following season with Newport again coming to Aberavon but this time the Black & Ambers won 15 - 7. In 2008-9 the sides once again met at the quarter-final stage of the Cup, now sponsored by Swalec. The Wizards won that game 20 - 10 at home. The sides last met in the competition three seasons ago when Newport won 11 - 10 at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Looking back to the Konica Minolta Cup in 2004-5, the Wizards knocked out the Cup holders Neath at the Talbot Athletic Ground 17 - 13 to set up a quarter-final clash with Premiership Title holders Newport at the Talbot Athletic Ground. A determined performance saw Aberavon take an 18 - 0 lead after 33 minutes of play with tries by Daran Griffiths and Chris Wells, a conversion and penalty by Jamie Davies, and a drop goal by Darren Ryan. The visitors then started to rally with them scoring an injury time try by Sam Waldron to make the score 18 - 5 at the interval. The Black & Ambers clawed their way back further in the second half firstly with a try by Rhys Shorney. Late in the game Newport scored another try when Darren Davies touched down with Daniel Griffiths adding the extras. This set up a nail biting end to the game as a further three minutes of injury time was played before referee Hugh Watkins blew for full time. 

The Aberavon team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Darren Ryan (rep Ricky Price), David Hawkins, Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris, Chris Wells, Paul Breeze (rep Lloyd Howell), Dafydd Owen (capt) (rep Paul Morgan), Andrew Fisher, Steve Phillips, Richard Morris, Ian Moore.

The referee for Sunday's game is Dewi Phillips.

The full list of the 2nd round of National Cup games are:

Bargoed v Rhydyfelin
Beddau v Bedwas
Bridgend v Ebbw Vale
Cardiff v Merthyr
Cross Keys v Bedlinog
Llandovery v Llanelli
Newport v Aberavon
Pontypool v Carmarthen Quins