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Indigo Premiership Preview, 27-30 October

Cardiff are going into the Indigo Premiership game of the weekend without half their team, but head coach Steve Law insists that this is the price you pay for a properly organised set up.

He also believes this is how it should be.

The Rags, who currently sit second in the table, host Llandovery at the Arms Park on Saturday.

It is a huge clash in the capital, with the two teams currently sitting in second and third position in the table, tied on 22 points.

But Law will be without eight players, most of whom have been called up by Cardiff Rugby to fill the gaps left by Wales’ international duties for the Autumn Series.

Cardiff Rugby have been decimated with injuries this term, and international call ups have seen them look towards the Rags side.

“We have lost a few players to the regional side, so that is a challenge,” says Law.

“Cardiff rugby have a lot of injuries and due to the model of our relationship, their injuries and international call ups has put pressure on us.

“We will be a very different looking side. We have lost Teddy Williams, Kieron Assiratti, Efan Daniels, Cameron Winnett, Gwilym Bradley, Harry Millard, Jamie Hill, and Ellis Bevan.

“It was a difficult relationship a few years ago, but now it is far more aligned. The working week is now geared towards a shared direction. You take the good and bad from things and you just have to accept what you have and carry on.

“The players coming in are all semi-professional players but they haven’t had much game time throughout the season.

“I am not complaining, that’s just how rugby is, but it does mean it will be a challenge on the weekend.”

The visitors have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, but faced their first loss at the weekend, losing 48-40 in a dramatic Premiership Cup fantastic at The Wern against Merthyr.

But the Drovers have been solid in the league so far, and will fancy their chances against a depleted Cardiff side.

Law adds: “Llandovery play a very chaotic brand of rugby; they chance their arm. They are very entertaining to watch. It is high risk, high reward rugby, so it will be difficult.

 “It will be a much-changed squad, but it will still be very competitive. We have a few permit players coming in, like Jacob Lloyd from Treorchy, who has signed into the RFC squad now. He is a very exciting prospect.”

Despite Cardiff’s problems, Llandovery coach Euros Evans says: “This is the way it goes – clubs have moments when they are really strong and other times when they are stressed a bit.

“It’s a rollercoaster for them, but their core is still very strong. They have quality Premiership players who underpin things so it won’t be an easy game.

“We were disappointed last week with our defence at Merthyr, but we can improve that. It’s two attractive sides in ourselves and Cardiff, so it should be a really good game.”

The round of fixtures kicks off with another blockbuster Thursday Night Rugby clash, as Merthyr take on Carmarthen Quins.

An exciting 48-40 win against Llandovery last week in the Cup and a mammoth effort against Aberavon the week before, shows Merthyr are building well.

The Ironmen have really kicked on under new head coach Rowland Phillips and will be looking to capitalise on either Cardiff or Llandovery dropping points this weekend.  

Sixth-placed Ebbw Vale host fifth placed Swansea in what will be another huge game.

Jason Strange’s Ebbw will be looking to get back to winning ways after a difficult few weeks.

Swansea have hit a bit of form of late, and their youngsters have been impressing, with the likes of Dan Edwards, Morgan Morse and Iestyn Hopkins all enjoying excellent campaigns so far.

Edwards is a real triple threat fly-half, while Hopkins has beaten a League-best 21 defenders so far this season. Despite a lack of minutes, Morse has made the most line breaks (4) in the competition to date.

But Ebbw Vale have some very impressive players amongst their ranks, and they will be hoping they can get back to winning ways, having lost two tight contests against Bridgend and Cardiff in recent weeks.  

Newport host highflyers Aberavon at Rodney Parade on Sunday, in what will be a repeat of last year’s WRU Premiership Cup Final.

Newport sit rock bottom of the League, having lost all four of their games. And last year’s Cup runners-up will face another tough task as the Wizards are yet to lose this season, and currently possess the Premiership’s most lethal attacking force.

Pontypridd take on Llanelli and with just one point between them in the table, it is difficult to see who comes off best.

Ponty have struggled at the start of the season, with just two wins from five. But the Valley Commandos will be looking to build on a hard-fought win against Carmarthen last time out.

Llanelli have struggled in recent weeks, after securing their only win of the season against Swansea, on the opening day. The West Wales outfit have since lost four games in a row.

Phil John’s side have been a lot more competitive this year, having picked up two try bonus points and two losing bonus points.

But with the league’s worst defence, having conceded 183 points so far, it is not difficult to see where things have gone wrong.

Bridgend will be in a buoyant mood away at RGC, having picked up their first win of the season against Ebbw Vale last time out in the league.

It was a big scalp for the Ravens, but they will have to work hard if they are to defeat an impressive RGC outfit this weekend.

While RGC have only one win in the league, Ceri Morris’s side have shown glimpses of what they can achieve.

Having beaten Carmarthen convincingly last week, 37-3, the North Walian side will be hoping they can now start to kick on in the league.

27 October, 2022


29 October, 2022

Ebbw ValevSwansea

30 October, 2022


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