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Indigo Premiership Preview

Aberavon head coach Jason Hyatt insists his team have learned a lot about themselves in the past few weeks.

The Wizards suffered a mid-season blip, but according to Hyatt the experience gained will be key as they continue to challenge at the top of the table.

Aberavon have now won three games in a row, following losses against Newport, Ebbw Vale and RGC in the Indigo Premiership.

The Wizards will be looking to continue their good run of form this weekend against Carmarthen Quins, who currently find themselves bottom of the table.

The Quins have endured a difficult start to the season, winning just two of their 12 games. 

But Marc Jones’ side have at last found some momentum, beating Swansea 34-33 last time out.

On Aberavon’s recent return to form. Hyatt said: “We’ve had several players return from injury and we are back to playing some excellent rugby.  

“I think we learnt a lot about ourselves during that difficult period, a couple of weeks ago. It was quite painful because we started the season so well, but that is just the nature of the season.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we have built such a healthy environment here at the club, it is a family atmosphere, but it is also one where you are expected to work hard.

“Nothing is more important than the environment and you need to build that with quality people who drive that environment forward, whilst ensuring that it is constantly evolving.

“We are very aware that anyone can beat anyone in the Premiership. Carmarthen are a quality team, and they have some excellent coaches down there. 

“It will be a difficult game for us because we are going to have to work hard to keep that winning momentum going.”

There is a huge clash at Spytty Park this weekend, as sixth-placed Newport take on Llandovery who currently sit third. 

The Drovers could see their title charge partially derailed if they pick up a second loss in two weeks, after losing 26-16 at home against Merthyr.

However, Newport will be in confident mood having picked up a huge 18-17 win against Cardiff away from home last week and they continue to fight for a play-off spot.

Elsewhere, leaders Cardiff face the difficult trip to the Ciner Glass Stadium this weekend, as they look to get back to winning ways against Ebbw Vale and to preserve their 10 point lead at the top of the table.

The Rags defeated Ebbw Vale in their last meeting at Cardiff Arms Park earlier in the season, 20-19, but The Steelmen will be also looking to get back to winning ways having lost to RGC.

An in-form Merthyr side will host Bridgend at The Wern this weekend, aiming to back up their excellent win against Llandovery. 

And RGC will bid to re-assert their campaign against a struggling Llanelli side.  

Swansea head to a struggling Pontypridd team this weekend, looking turn around their poor form, following two defeats against Aberavon and Carmarthen in recent weeks.

Ponty will fancy their chances to break their current seven-match losing streak against a young Swansea side, but Hugh Gustafson’s kids could still prove to be a difficult test.

All Whites head coach Gustafson said: “We are a young team, there’s a lot of youngsters making their first steps in senior rugby. 

“But we have a great set up and the young players are learning quickly and developing well.

“The intention is to develop future international players and regional rugby players. There arebags of talent coming through, but it is important that the talent is being used in the right way and the boys are being given consistent opportunities to develop themselves.

“It is an exciting back line to work with. You saw Harri Houston score a stunning 80-metre try against Aberavon after 80 minutes of hard work and you’ve got the likes of Dan Edwards and Iestyn Hopkins developing nicely, putting in some excellent performances so far.

“They can see the pathway, like Cai Evans who has been playing for us this year. 

“He’s now making an impact at the top level, which shows the system is working and it also shows Ospreys are watching their development closely.”    

Indigo Premiership fixtures – January 21, 2023

Carmarthen QuinsvAberavon
Ebbw ValevCardiff

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