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 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3