Friday, 22 November 2013

Principality Premiership Weekend Predictions

With all the off the field antics and political manoeuvrings going on in the International and European rugby sphere dominating the national headlines, the distraction of a full program of Welsh Premiership rugby is a welcome return for the grassroots scene in Wales.
The clash of the day sees defending champions and current second placed Pontypridd entertaining Llanelli, while the Swansea v Bedwas clash at St Helens may have long term ramifications for either one of these sides if they do not start notching up wins.
Cardiff v Aberavon (1.30 ko)
The Blue and Blacks have really had an excellent start to the season and currently sit fourth, having won five of their seven matches so far. Martyn Fowler’s troops ran out easy winners when the sides met at the Talbot Athletic Ground earlier in the season and will start as clear favourites tomorrow.
The Wizards have had a change at the helm with Jason Hyatt taking over the reins, and the Port Talbot side will be aiming to build on their win over Ospreylian rivals Bridgend last week.
I can’t really see anything other than a home win here but I think Aberavon may just come away with a bonus point for their efforts.
Verdict-Cardiff by 7 points
Bridgend v Llandovery
Alarm bells must surely be ringing in the Ravens camp having played a couple of extra games than the sides immediately around them, and, if they don’t start winning soon, the odds of them avoiding the drop will not be in their favour.
In the reverse fixture, the Drovers were far too strong at Church Bank and I think they should claim the double over Ben Rose’s outfit tomorrow; however, I do not expect it will be as one-sided as their clash earlier in the year.
Verdict-Llandovery by 14 points
Cross Keys v Neath
The Keys have only lost once at home this season and that was against Pontypridd. A good win here could propel them up the table with a game in hand on the teams sitting above them.
Winless Neath have had a less than stellar season so far unaided by problems on and off the field, and I can’t see it getting any better for them tomorrow.
In my opinion, the Pandy Park side will be too strong up front for their visitors and I predict a straightforward win for the hosts.
Verdict-Cross Keys by 10 points 
Newport v Carmarthen Quins
An interesting statistic as a backdrop to tomorrow’s match is the fact that the Black and Ambers have never lost to Carmarthen at Rodney Parade.
In my opinion, however, Newport will need more than history on their side tomorrow if they are to derail Carmarthen’s imperious start, and I think Steff Thomas’ troops should claim their eighth win of the season.
Verdict-Carmarthen Quins by 12 points
Pontypridd v Llanelli
Pontypridd have failed to reach the fluent heights of last season yet, but, ominously for the rest of the pack, they are level on points on the summit and have yet to lose. However, they haven’t been starting matches well this season and have needed a number of late shows to save the day. Without one main Head Coach overseeing proceedings at Sardis Road, it will be interesting to see how their season progresses; they clearly have an extremely strong squad, but have yet to gel, and Dale McIntosh’s departure may still leave a lingering effect on the Valley Commandos.
Llanelli have had a reasonable start, currently sitting just off the pace, but if Ponty make another stuttering start tomorrow could an upset be on the cards?
I think Ponty should come through tomorrow’s test but the defending champions are by no means as convincing as they were last season.
Verdict-Pontypridd by 7 points
Swansea v Bedwas
Despite so much of the season still left to play, it is not too early to look at matches and see the larger ramifications of a loss. Both these sides will be desperate to notch up a win and help ease their very real relegation worries. Swansea, who ended last season bottom, have undoubtedly improved from last term but have only claimed one win so far, and that was against current basement boys Neath.
Bedwas on the other hand were always going to struggle to replicate the form that nearly took them to the play-offs last season. Having said that, I think, come April, the Bridge Field outfit will be out of harm’s way and Steve Law will be targeting tomorrow’s encounter as a chance to make headway up the league, with teams around them all playing sides above them in the table.

Verdict-Bedwas by 5 points


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