Preview: Aberavon v Swansea

Posted by Gareth Gange on 09/02/2018

Aberavon (13th place - 6 points) play their first Saturday Principality Premiership game at home in 14 weeks when they welcome Swansea (10th - 7 points) to the Talbot Athletic Ground this Saturday, kick off 1:30pm. Ironically, that last Saturday league home game, played on November 4th, was against Swansea too.

Since the Premiership combined, the All Whites have lost one and won one. They narrowly lost 23 - 24 at Carmarthen in their first game, after the Quins scored a penalty try in injury time. Last weekend, Swansea beat Bargoed 22 - 8 at home thanks to the control the All Whites had in their pack.

In the WRU National Cup, Swansea were knocked out of the competition when Newport won 24 - 20 at St Helen's in the first round.

During the first half of the season, Swansea won three and drew one of their fourteen games in the Premiership West. They lost their first two games of the season going down to both Neath and Aberavon, with the Wizards winning the game in St Helen's 41 - 28. Their first win came a week later as the Whites defeated Bridgend 22 - 6. A loss at the Quins followed before the Whites drew 16 all with RGC 1404 at home. Defeats away to Llandovery and Llanelli were followed by a 24 - 17 home win over Neath at the end of October. Swansea then visited the Talbot Athletic Ground where the Wizards won 13 - 9. That game saw a run of five consecutive losses for the Whites, with them having to wait until December 23rd before they won again, a 38 - 7 bonus point win over rivals Llanelli at St Helen's.

Looking at the Premiership West, in "attack" this season, Swansea scored 20.2 points on average per game (ranked 6th) and 2.4 tries (ranked 7th). In "defence" they conceded 23.6 points on average per game (ranked 4th) and 3.0 tries (ranked 5th). Aberavon scored 24.6 points per game (ranked 2nd) and 3.5 tries (ranked top), and conceded 24.0 points (ranked 5th) and 2.6 tries (ranked 3rd).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Swansea have met each other 31 times in the Welsh National League with the series tied at 15 wins each and 1 game drawn. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, the Wizards lead 11 - 4 and last lost to Swansea at the ground six seasons ago.

Looking back at when the sides met at the Talbot Athletic Ground in the 2004-5 season, the game was played in strong wind, with Luke Richards giving the Whites a 3 - 0 lead in the first half after kicking a 10th minute penalty. The Wizards went ahead ten minutes into the second half after Paul Bamsey touched down with Liam Gadd adding the extras before extending the homesides lead with a penalty kick. However, Gareth Knox scored a try for the visitors with an Aaron Bramwell conversion drawing the teams level at 10 - 10 in the 71st minute. Late in the game Gadd kicked two further penalties to give Aberavon a 16 - 10 win.

The Wizards team that day was: Richard Lewis; Daran Griffiths, Darren Ryan, David Hawkins, Paul Bamsey; Liam Gadd, Daniel Hawkins (rep Adrian Williams); Mike Harris (rep Lloyd Howell), Chris Wells, Paul Breeze, Dafydd Owen (capt), Luke Tait, Richard Morris, Steve Phillips, Ian Moore.

The referee for Saturday's game will be Aled Liddington, aided by Kelvin Shorte and Colin Kirkhouse.