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WRU Championship Preview, 22/10/2022

Trebanos forwards coach Ian Moore hopes his young side can turn their WRU Championship form around after taking their first win of the season against Glamorgan Wanderers last week.

The respite of the WRU Championship Cup brought a change in fortunes for Moore’s men.

After a tough spell – which included five Championship losses in a row – Trebanos got their season on track with an impressive 14-0 Cup win away at Glamorgan Wanderers. 

Now, they are seeking to lift their league form – and start climbing away from the foot of the table – when they host Tata Steel, the club just above them in the league basement.

Swansea Valley side Trebanos are often lauded for their enjoyable style of rugby but following the departures of eight experienced members of their squad, former Aberavon stalwart Moore has found it tough going.

He enjoyed an incredible career as a player which included no less than 379 games for the Wizards, but coaching a raw squad is a whole new ball game.

“I worked under a few brilliant coaches, like Simon King, Jason Hyatt, Kevin Hopkins and Chris O’Callaghan,” says Moore.

“I learnt a lot from all of them through my long career and have just taken little bits along the way.

“It is not the same. I miss playing. I wish I was still playing. But coaching can be enjoyable.

“I coached at Cwmavon, my local team, and I really enjoyed my time there. It was a tough three years as they had a small squad, but I learned a lot about coaching.”

It will be a huge game at The Park this weekend as Tata Steel are also without a league win this season.

“Even though we have been losing in the last few weeks, the boys have shown great spirit,” says Moore.

“We have shown that we can compete in patches, but to get the full performance last week was brilliant.

“It just shows they can not only compete at this level but thrive in it as well. I have got no doubt in my mind that several of this squad will become Premiership regulars over the next few years.”

Tata’s struggles have been well publicised, with the club making desperate appeals for new players after squad numbers had dwindled.

“We know Tata are in a tough situation at the minute,” says Moore.

“I know quite a few of the players down there and they are good boys. They are not going to turn over for anyone. It is their personal pride in there as well.

“They are going to come and front up and at the end of the day we are both on the same points in the league, and both without a win.

“I’m from Port Talbot, so it is always sad to see local teams struggling at the minute. I think it is great they are fighting through, though, and putting a team out.

“And I’ve got no doubt over the next few years they will thrive again. Every team goes through tough times, but I’m sure they will flourish in the next few years.” 

Elsewhere, Cardiff Met host Narberth, in an exciting clash at Cyncoed. The Archers have lost their last four games in both League and Cup action but lay just one point behind visitors Narberth in the league.

The Otters lost last time out, in the Cup at home, against Pontypool. But the side in sixth place will hope to continue their move up the table, with their youngsters impressing so far this year.

Fourth placed Cross Keys welcome Glamorgan Wanderers to Pandy Park and the Keys will be hoping their tight Cup win last weekend against Cardiff Met is a sign of what is to come.

But a loss last time out against Ystrad Rhondda in the League will give the Wanderers some hope.

The Wanderers have two wins and two losses in the last four matches, which sums up their inconsistent start to the season.

Impressive wins against Cardiff Met and Ystalyfera showed some promise, but losses against Maesteg Harlequins and against Trebanos last week in the Cup will be a worry.

The Ely-based club can compete at the top level in this League, but questions remain around whether they can get themselves back on track against a tough Cross Keys outfit.

Bedwas, who sit in fifth, will travel to Maesteg, as they look to continue their excellent run, and as they charge towards the top four.

With just one win in the League this season, Maesteg have struggled to create any momentum and sit 11th in the table.

With three wins on the bounce, Bedwas remain just six points behind leaders Neath and are level on 16 points with Cross Keys.

The Wass will head to Maesteg in a confident mood, as they continue to put pressure on the pace-setters at the top of the table.

Leaders Neath host Matthew Rees’ Beddau side who sit in 12th.

Beddau’s only win in the league came against Glamorgan Wanderers in game week two.

But following a tough few weeks Beddau found their winning formula again, as they comfortably beat Ystalyfera 37-0 in the WRU Championship Cup on the weekend.

Pontypool got back to action last weekend, following a week off, due to their game against Tata Steel being called off the week before. Any kind of rustiness was quickly shaken off as they stormed to a solid 45-24 win against Narberth.

As they return to League action against Ystrad Rhondda, Pooler will be looking to continue their excellent form, having won four from four.

For the visitors, Ystrad Rhondda, it will prove to be a difficult task, taking on the League’s in-form team.

Having started the campaign slowly, the Rhondda club have picked up two wins and a draw in recent weeks.

Having received a bye in the Cup competition, Ystrad Rhondda’s last game fell in the league, as they picked up an impressive win at home against Cross Keys.

All the signs are showing that they are just starting to hit their form. However, a trip to Pontypool Park will prove to be a tough ask.

Ystalyfera, who sit in 10th spot, welcome Bargoed who are riding high in third place and will fancy their chances of a fifth win in six matches.

22 October 2022

Cardiff Met v Narberth

Cross Keys v Glamorgan Wanderers

Maesteg Quins v Bedwas

Neath v Beddau

Pontypool v Ystrad Rhondda

Trebanos v Tata Steel

Ystalyfera v Bargoed

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