Cross Keys head to the Arms Park this Saturday to take on unbeaten Cardiff in the Principality Premiership, which kicks off at the earlier than normal time of 1.00pm.
The Blue and Blacks have made an excellent start to the season with victories in each of their opening 3 games. They opened their campaign with a convincing 31 – 19 victory at Rodney Parade against old rivals Newport. They then followed that up with a 24 points to 17 at the Arms Park over Merthyr and then last week they had a hard fought win on the road at Bargoed as they won by 21 points to 17.
Last season the Blue and Blacks secured the double over the Keys with a pair of convincing victories. Back in November of last year at the Arms Park Cardiff triumphed by 38 points to 14. Tries for the home side came from a pair by Will Rees-Hole and one each for Ceri Young, James Beal and Gareth Thompson. Thompson also kicked all 5 conversions and a penalty goal for his side. Keys replied with a pair of tries for Barney Nightingale, both converted by James Thomas.
In the tier 2 fixture at Pandy Park back in April the blue and blacks again eased to another comfortable victory over Keys, winning by 33 points to 10. Keys only try came from Barney Nightingale with Josh Prosser adding the conversion and a penalty for hire side. The Cardiff tries came from a pair by Joe Tomlinson and one apiece for Will Rees-Hole and Jonathan Edwards. Jarrod Evans kicked 2 conversions and Ben Thomas kicked 3 penalties.
Turning attentions back to Saturday’s game and The Keys have made 4 changes to their starting , lineup compared to the one that started the victory over Ebbw Vale last week. In the pack Richard Cornock replaces Nathan Buck at tighthead prop whilst Rob Jones returns to start at hooker in place of Gerard Ellis. Speaking of hookers Darren Hughes is set for a spell on the sidelines as he has undergone an operation on a damaged bicep which will keep him out for a few months.
In the back line, Keys recall both Barney Nightingale and Joe Goodchild, who replace Phil Williams and Nathan Trowbridge at centre and wing, respectively. On the bench Keys include Dragons Academy pair hooker Will Griffiths and back row man Taine Basham, who made his Keys debut coming on as a replacement against Ebbw Vale. Scrum half James Leabeater makes his 150th competitive appearance for Keys whilst winger Mathew Powell will make his 50th appearance for the club.
The Cross Keys side in full is:-
15. Leon Andrews
14. Mathew Powell
13. Lewis Barnett
12. Barney Nightingale
11. Joe Goodchild
10. Josh Prosser
9. James Leadbeater
1. Lewis Smout
2. Rob Jones
3. Richard Cornock
4. Tom Lampard
5. Josh Skinner
6. Liam Davies
7. Joe Thomas
8. Adam Powell (c)
Replacements: 16. Will Griffiths, 17. Corey Hewlett, 18. Gary Carpenter, 19. Max George, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Phil Williams, 22. Ross Pritchard, 23. Nathan Trowbridge.
Cardiff v Cross Keys Principality Premiership East
Date: Saturday 16th September 2017
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick Off: 1.00pm
**Please note the early kick off of 1.00pm**