Preview: Cardiff v Aberavon

Aberavon (7th – 67 points) travel to Cardiff Arms Park on Friday to take on Cardiff (2nd – 85 points) in the Principality Premiership, kick off 7:15pm.

The Blue & Blacks have won seventeen and drawn one of their twenty-two games this season, with them winning nine and drawing one of their eleven games played at the Arms Park.

They started their season losing three of their four opening games – they had a narrow bonus point win over Newport but went down to Merthyr (their only loss at home this season), Llandovery and Carmarthen. However, they did pick up bonus points in their losses to the Ironmen and the Quins.

Cardiff then went on a winning streak of nine games as they saw off Bargoed, Cross Keys, Bedwas, Llanelli, Aberavon (39 – 12), RGC 1404, Bridgend, Neath and Swansea, with five of the victories bonus point wins.

In December the winning run came to an end as Cardiff lost to Ebbw Vale, but picked up a losing bonus point in the process. A Bonus point win at Merthyr followed, before they drew with Llandovery just before Christmas – again with a bonus point.

Since then, Cardiff have won their last six games with them beating Pontypridd, Newport, Carmarthen, Cross Keys, Bedwas and Llanelli with four of the victories bonus point wins.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Cardiff have scored 30.5 points on average per game (ranked 2nd) and 3.6 tries (ranked 3rd). In “defence” they have conceded 20.4 points on average per game (ranked 8th) and 2.6 tries (ranked 8th). Aberavon have scored 22.1 points per game (ranked 9th) and 2.9 tries (ranked 8th), and conceded 18.5 points (ranked 5th) and 2.6 tries (ranked 7th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Cardiff have met each other 35 times in the Welsh National League, with the Blue & Blacks leading the series 18 – 16 with 1 game drawn. At the Arms Park, Cardiff lead 11 – 5 with 1 game drawn, and they won the last time the sides met at the ground.

Looking back to the 2003-04 season, the Wizards won a midweek league game at the ground 26 – 13 with prop Paul Breeze and outside half Jamie Davies scoring tries for the Wizards. Referee Paul Adams also awarded the visitors a penalty try for a collapsed scrum. Davies kicked three penalties and a conversion. For the home side, wing Jamie Henthorn scored their only try with outside half Gareth McCarthy kicking the conversion and two penalties.

The Wizards team that day was: Ricky Price; Lenny Woodard, Darren Ryan, David Hawkins, Sam Greenaway (rep Chris Perry); Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Mike Harris (rep Paul Breeze), James Jones, Greg Dix, Dafydd Owen, Chris Gittins, Dean Thomas (rep Steffan Edwards), Jonathan Purnell (rep Jamie Summers), Howard Merrett.

The referee for Friday’s game is Elgan Williams, aided by Gareth Newman and Colin Kirkhouse.

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 23 18 0 5 651 393 91
Cardiff 23 18 1 4 696 469 89
Pontypridd 21 16 0 5 730 374 79
Llandovery 24 16 1 7 652 408 79
Newport 25 15 2 8 629 551 77
Ebbw Vale 24 16 1 7 541 423 76
Aberavon 22 14 2 6 485 415 69
Swansea 24 13 0 11 537 451 65
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 22 11 1 10 552 456 64
Carmarthen Quins 25 11 1 13 526 469 61
Bedwas 24 8 1 15 515 667 43
Bridgend Ravens 22 8 0 14 427 517 43
Llanelli 25 7 1 17 503 632 40
Cross Keys 23 5 1 17 464 734 34
Bargoed 23 4 0 19 400 756 22
Neath 24 1 0 23 350 943 3