Cross Keys travel to the Gnoll to take on Neath in the Principality
Premiership on Friday evening. This will be the first of two consecutive
visits to the Gnoll as Keys have of course been drawn to play the Welsh
All Blacks in the Swalec Cup next weekend (16th February).
The Welsh All Blacks' season has been largely disappointing so far having won just 5 of their 14 league games this season suffering defeats in the other 9 games.
At Pandy Park back in September Keys hammered the Blacks by 41 points to 10. Crossing the line for Keys were Elliot Jones, Luke Ford, Luke Williams and Danny Hodge whilst a penalty try was also awarded to the home side. Dean Gunter was impeccable with the boot kicking the 5 conversions and also adding 2 penalties. Neath , who had Tom Morgan red carded late on could only respond with a try each for Ryan Evans and Alun Wyn-Davies. Friday evening is likely to be slightly tougher for Keys.
Last season at the Gnoll Neath ran out narrow winners by 15 points to 10. On that occasion Neath had former Keys fly half Dai Langdon to thank for their all their points as he kicked 4 penalties and a drop goal to steer them home. For Keys scrum half Owen Jones scored an opportunist try thanks to a tap and go whilst Dean Gunter landed a conversion and a penalty.
It could be a case of friends reunited on Friday evening with plenty of players having worn the jerseys of both sides in recent times. For Keys Anthony Lott, Adam Powell, Luke Ford have all worn the famous all black strip of Neath whilst Neath have former Keys players Marc Jones, Rhys Williams, Stuart Vokes and Dai Langdon in their ranks now.
Of course this week saw another player who has represented both Neath but more recently, The Keys, hooker Gerwyn Price make the big decision to join Glasgow Warriors on loan until the end of the season. Gezzy is scheduled to make his debut for the Warriors in the Rabo direct pro 12 game against Zebre on Sunday and deserves the opportunity to play at a higher level which he is in no doubt more than capable of, which he has perhaps been cruelly denied previously. All at the Keys wish Gezzy all the very best and hope that this is just the start of things to come for him.
Back to Friday evening then and the Keys are able to welcome back several players. Wing Kristian Baller returns as does Luke Ford in the centre, who plays his first game since Keys were defeated at Carmarthen back in early November. With Keys losing 2 hookers in the space of a week with Garry Horrigan's enforced retirement and Gerwyn Price joining Glasgow together with Jamie Sollis' absence through the injuries suffered in his car crash, Keys call upon Pontypool hooker Ben Parry whilst cover is provided on the bench by Rhys Miller who has returned to Keys after taking a break from the game.
The Cross Keys team is as follows:-
15. Gareth David
14. Kristian Baller
13. Leon Andrews
12. Luke Ford
11. Luke Williams
10. Dorian Jones
9. Rhys Dyer
1. Richard Cornock
2. Ben Parry
3. Anthony Lott
4. Danny Hodge
5. Ollie Hodge
6. Tom Lampard
7. Rob Nash (c)
8. Adam Powell
Replacements: James Johnstone, Rhys Miller, Craig Gould, Sean Higgins, Scott Matthews, Ryan James, Dean Gunter, Aled James.
Neath v Cross Keys Principality Premiership
Venue: The Gnoll, Neath
Date: Friday 8th February 2013
Kick Off: 7.15pm
Referee: Wayne Davies Touch Judges: Jon Hardy & Adrian Lewis