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Welsh Rugby Union – Admiral National Leagues Season Preview


Kenfig Hill came up with a passable impression of a tortoise with bunions as they emerged from the blocks last season, allowing others to make the running in Division One West Central.

They lost their opening two fixtures and dropped another two over the next seven games.

Their slow start left them with too much ground to make up in the race for promotion.

But the Mules showed good enough form over the back end of the campaign to encourage the belief that they could be the team to beat in the section this term. They doubled Dunvant and Ammanford, both of whom were promoted, and drew with champions Bonymaen.

Tom Briggs will lead them for a record eighth consecutive season, with new signings including forwards Luke Turton and Sam Kembery.

DragonBet make Kenfig Hill 3/1 to win the title

Glynneath, who have recently made two impressive additions to their squad in scrum-half Owen Kennerley and centre Sam Harris, are expected to be a force, as well, along with Skewen, who have reinforced under Matthew McCarthy.

Waunarlwydd line up in Division One West and will be fancied to go well, while Nant Conwy are everybody’s tip in Division One North after an unbeaten league campaign last time: 20 games played, 20 wins on the board.

Expect Mountain Ash to be among the front-runners in Division One East Central, while Brynmawr are the hot tip in Division One east, with Andrew Bevan and Damien Hudd continuing as coaches. Morgan Davies and Liam Butler led the way in a strong 2022-23 season which saw the Catholic Road club win 16 of their 22 league games.


Twenty years ago Caerphilly were competing on the big rugby stage, with the Cheesemen taking on Castres in the European Shield final. They lost but emerged with much credit from a wonderful run to the showpiece.

Today, the club are in Division Two East Central.

It will be a mild surprise if they are not there or thereabouts for the title after finishing fourth in the section last term, fully 30 points clear of the club that finished fifth.

DragonBet make Caerphilly 1/2 to win the title

They are boosted by the retention of the coaching team who did so well last season, led by Gareth Short and featuring Jon Hughes as attack coach and team manager and Ben Jones as set piece boss. Sam Haley leads the on-pitch effort.

Cowbridge, with scrum-half Adam Dix as captain, also look set fair.

Newport HSOB should be among the power brokers in Division 2 East, with Colwyn Bay having similar standing up north and Aberavon Quins reckoned to be the team to beat in West Central.

Three clubs are set to make the pace in Division 2 West: Tenby United, Mumbles and Nantgaredig, with just six points between them in the table last term. Luke Dedman skippers Tenby again, while Mumbles are lifted by the signing of Jon Fox as player coach from Swansea, with the No. 8 figuring alongside brother Ben in the coaching set-up.


The old cliché suggests the wind blows stronger further up the mountain, so Bryncethin will be taking nothing for granted in West Central.

Even so, there are grounds for believing the club of Wales centre Owen Watkin have what it takes to prosper at the higher level after winning promotion as champions last term.

They surged to the Division 4 West Central title by 14 clear points, winning all 20 games, with 106 tries scored and just 15 conceded. It was an outstanding effort from all concerned, with the club crowning their season by lifting the Division 4 Cup.

DragonBet make Bryncethin 9/5 to win the title

Their rivals would all be advised to treat the Cherry and Whites with serious respect, then.

Abercrave, the club where it all started for former Wales prop Adam Jones, will provide a strong challenge.

St Albans, RhymneyNew Dock Stars and Abercarn are also looking to build in other sections, while in West A Laugharne are shaping up nicely under head coach Nico Setaro. They fell just short of a top-three spot in the section last term but showed enough to suggest they will be strong silverware candidates this time.


Newly promoted Tonna will be worth keeping an eye on after a superb 2022-23 campaign.

The Memorial Ground club turned Division 5 west central into a procession, winning 21 of their 22 outings and finishing with 103 points, 16 clear of their nearest rivals.

They have strengthened, too, for the step up to Division 4 West Central, with Scarlets back rower Iwan Shenton stepping into a skills coach role and Wales international Craig Mitchell appointed as defence coach. Mitchell will continue to play, with the ex-prop operating as a blindside flanker these days.

DragonBet make Tonna 2/1 to win the title

Tonna have also snapped up experienced prop Jonathan Thomas and lock Ioan Jones from Neath as part of a significant recruitment push, while Callum McPhee – in some eyes the best player in Division 5 west central last term – will continue to drive the side from No. 8 and Nicky Fisher will supply class behind the scrum.

Pontardawe and South Gower,  moving up a section with Tonna, will be keen to make an impression in the higher grade, while ex-Merit Table giants Maesteg, who narrowly missed out on promotion to Division 3 last term, will also be intent on a successful season.   

 Another club looking in prime shape are Newport Saracens, who will again compete in Division 4 East having just failed to make the step up last term. Sarries finished the season like a train, losing just one of their final 11 games, with the likes of Elliot Shotton and Liam Foley pointing the way. Their triumphs included notable wins over Fleur de Lys (55-10) and Nantyglo (27-18), both of whom won promotion. Indeed, the only side they failed to beat over the league season were champions Chepstow.

In East Central, among those who are fancied are Llantwit Major under coach Rhys James with Tonyrefail also likely to be in the mix.    


Dinas Powys are regrouping after dropping down from Division 1 East Central following a sticky campaign.

It’s a long way to fall and they’ll hope for a soft landing.

The expectation is they’ll prosper in Division 5 East Central, with Forgeside highly fancied to do well in Division 5 East after emerging from the level below with an unbeaten record over the league campaign – all 16 games won.

DragonBet make Dinas Powys 1/2 to win the title

In West Central, Seven Sisters will hope to better last season’s effort which saw them finish fourth, while Rhigos, one of Wales legend Dai Morris’s old clubs, will want a say in matters, too.  


Tredegar Ironsides are sampling life at a lower level after dropping from Division 3 East, where they endured a testing campaign that saw them win only three of their 20 games.

But they should enjoy a less exacting time in the league’s bottom section, with all concerned ready to press the reset button.

Magor, a creditable fourth in the division last term, are expected to offer the main challenge. 

DragonBet make Tredegar Ironsides 4/6 to win the title

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