Friday, 22 November 2013

Swalec Championship Weekend Predictions

With Wales half way through their Autumn internationals and preparing to take on Tonga in what is undoubtedly going to be a bruising encounter this evening, the Swalec Championship gets underway once again with a full fixture list tomorrow.

Cardiff Met take part in their first fixture in five weeks when they travel to Newbridge and will hope to catch up with some of the teams above them in the table.

Meanwhile, Duane Goodfield has replaced the departed Geraint Lewis as Ebbw Vale’s new forwards coach so an interesting prospect is at hand when his former side host his new one this weekend.

Beddau v Ebbw Vale

Despite Duane Goodfield’s departure to Eugene Cross Park, it is understood that as a mark of respect to his previous club he will not be part of Ebbw Vale’s coaching staff in the day of the game. With or without his help in the short period, Ebbw Vale will more than likely still have more than enough to claim another victory and probably another winning bonus-point against the Green and Golds. Beddau were extremely unlucky last time out against RGC 1404, conceding a late try to go down 10-9 so will be full of confidence but the Steelmen will just be too strong.

Verdict – Ebbw Vale by 24 points.

Bridgend Athletic v RGC 1404

The home side will take plenty of positives from a much needed win in their previous fixture when they comprehensively beat hapless Bonymaen 24-0. With other teams around them losing last time out, Athletic will feel a bit more relaxed that they have pulled a bit further away from the dreaded drop zone. RGC 1404 were close to adding another home defeat to their record in their opening season in the Swalec Championship before some late heroics earned them the spoils over Beddau. As the Parc Eirias outfit travel better, I think their terrific start will continue with another win.

Verdict – RGC 1404 by 9 points.

Llanharan v Bonymaen

Llanharan were given a pasting by Bargoed when they last ran out to compete on November 2nd and will more than likely have been disappointed in the long wait before they could make things right. Bonymaen have continued to struggle and were poor in their 24-0 home defeat by Bridgend Athletic a few weeks ago. This is probably a game the Dairymen will be pleased to have after their last performance so will be chomping at the bit to make things right.

Verdict – Llanharan by 28 points.

Newbridge v Cardiff Met

October 19th, five weeks ago exactly was the last time Cardiff Met took to the field for a Swalec Championship encounter. That 22-6 win against Blackwood will seem like an eternity to Chris Davey and his troops so will be looking forward to getting back out onto the paddock. Newbridge lost by the most slender of margins away at Narberth last time so will again be encouraged that they can compete with the teams higher up in the league. With the weather having been fairly decent and unlikely to be a mud bath at The Welfare Ground, I think it will suit Cardiff Met more than their hosts and they will come out on top.

Verdict – Cardiff Met by 8 points.

Pontypool v Bargoed

This has the potential to be the game of the weekend. Bargoed’s superb 32-13 trouncing of Llanharan took a few by surprise but it is unlikely to have shocked their own coaches and players who knew that once their shocking injury crisis had calmed down they would start marching right back up the table. Pontypool were successful against Blackwood last time out and have been vastly improved during this campaign. But with Bargoed starting to click I think they will have too much for their hosts at Pooler Park tomorrow.

Verdict – Bargoed by 5 points.

Tata Steel v Narberth

The Saints would have imagined they would have been higher than their current mid table position suggests at this time in the season as they possess a monster pack with some real skill out wide. But their pack has been found out at times during many of their games thus far and when up against the likes of RGC 1404 and Ebbw Vale, they have come off second best. The recent break may have helped Tata Steel as they have had time to regroup and readjust as to what can make them successful in this division. Narberth currently sit in second place behind the runaways leaders Ebbw Vale and will hope that at the end of this game they will stretch their unbeaten run to seven games which I think they will, just.

Verdict – Narberth by 3 points.

Tondu v Blackwood

Blackwood sit one place above bottom side Bonymaen with Tondu one place above them so this game is absolutely crucial in avoiding a relegation dogfight. Blackwood have made some changes to their coaching set up so will be hoping for a fresh start with a win against Tondu. Even though the Waterwheelers have only won two matches so far this season, they have earned many plaudits for their attitude when losing and have been closer in some games than the score line has suggested. This is a very tough one to call but after all things considered, I think Blackwood will nick it.

Verdict – Blackwood by 2 points.


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