Friday, 1 November 2013

Swalec Championship Predictions - 2nd November

With Halloween come and gone, the biggest fright of the night came at Blackwood with the news that Director of Rugby Matthew Back and Skills and Conditioning Coach David Brown have been let go by the club.

The pressure was mounting following their dismal start to the season and last week’s home defeat by Bargoed seems to have been the straw that broke the Camel’s back at Glan-Yr-Afon Park with them only two points ahead of Bonymaen at the foot of the table.

They entertain Pontypool this weekend looking for a vital win to try and keep them out of a relegation fight.

Bargoed v Llanharan

With Bargoed fancied to push Ebbw Vale all the way this season their start to the new campaign has been too inconsistent to be challenging at the top. A prime example was their terrific away win at Cardiff Met followed a week later by losing to Bridgend Athletic at home. They will need a run of results for about six or seven games if they want to get back into the title picture. Since Llanharan’s opening day defeat to Cardiff Met they have gone on to win six out of their next seven games and are on a bit of a roll at the moment. With a strong, mobile pack and Codey Rees pulling the strings at fly-half I think they will carry on in their rich vein of form by beating Bargoed but it will be very close.

Verdict – Llanharan by 4 points.

Blackwood v Pontypool

Blackwood have really struggled so far this season. The dismissal of their Director of Rugby and Skills and Conditioning coaches will not help them either so close to another important fixture, this time against Pontypool who did not play last week so will be refreshed and raring to go. For the coaches to be let go so soon into the season, you hope it was not a knee-jerk reaction as Matthew Back was highly regarded at Glan-Yr-Afon Park. Despite them likely to be galvanised and eager to impress whoever takes over, I do not envision Blackwood getting a result tomorrow due to Pontypool’s extra break and their decent start.

Verdict – Pontypool by 6 points.

Bonymaen v Bridgend Athletic

Both teams are struggling at the moment but can take positives out of their recent performances. Bridgend Athletic have lost their last three matches but by only two points and were extremely unlucky against Llanharan last weekend as Codey Rees struck a late penalty to get his side the result. Despite a heavy loss at the hands of Newbridge, Bonymaen have also been competitive in their last few games so will feel like they can get a result tomorrow, as will Bridgend Athletic. In what could be an extremely open, entertaining fixture I think Bridgend Athletic will come away with the spoils.

Verdict – Bridgend Athletic by 5 points.

Cardiff Met v Tondu

After a promising start, Cardiff Met have started to fall away from the top sides in the Championship. They fell victim to the weather last weekend so will probably be eager to get back out onto the field. With their BUCS campaign already underway, it will be interesting to see if that has any bearing on their league form. Tondu are another committed side but may lack that extra bit of class in key areas which could harm them as the season goes on. I think Cardiff Met will win this one quite comfortably.

Verdict – Cardiff Met by 17 points.

Ebbw Vale v Tata Steel

The Steelmen continue to brush aside all opponents in what is beginning to look like a battle for second in the Championship. They once again notched up a bonus-point win away in their derby at Newbridge last Saturday with their front row of Ross Jones, Matthew Williams and Robert Sevenoaks all outstanding. Tata Steel’s supposedly fearsome pack were given a bit of a hiding against RGC 1404 in their last game and with the power and strength in the Ebbw Vale pack, the Saints will have to work tremendously hard to get on top in this one. But Jason Strange’s men will likely pick up another bonus-point win at Eugene Cross Park to leave them one step closer to the Premiership.

Verdict – Ebbw Vale by 26 points.

Narberth v Newbridge

Narberth currently sit in second place in the Championship after their bonus-point win at Tondu last weekend. The Otters have had some decent results lately and have a nice balance in their squad which should trouble a lot of teams. Newbridge are not having the greatest of seasons thus far winning only three of their eight games and all at the Welfare Ground. They have yet to win away so far and I don’t think that fact will change tomorrow.

Verdict – Narberth by 10 points.

RGC 1404 V Beddau

RGC 1404 are having a brilliant start to life in the Championship and have had some cracking results. They overpowered the supposed mighty pack of Tata Steel last weekend and beginning to forge a reputation of having a formidable set of forwards of their own. They seem to have a terrific set-up in North Wales so the future certainly looks promising. Beddau ground out a win against bottom boys Bonymaen in their previous fixture so will have a bit of confidence going into this game. They are one of numerous teams who have been inconsistent but will more than likely be pleased with their form so far this year. I think a trip to Colwyn Bay will be too much and RGC 1404 will win comfortably in front of their passionate supporters.

Verdict – RGC 1404 by 18 points.


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