Neath v Cross Keys Preview and Team News
By David Glastonbury | 07/04/2017
Cross Keys return to Principality Premiership Tier 2 action this Saturday when they face Neath at the Gnoll.
With Keys leading the way and so far being unbeaten in Tier 2, the aim has to be to make it to the end of the season remaining unbeaten and showing the sort of form that they have so far shown since January. The Welsh All Blacks have also enjoyed better form since the January split but they suffered a disappointing defeat to Newport at the Gnoll last time out when the Black and Ambers won by 25 points to 9.
The Keys and the Welsh All Blacks have already met on 2 occasions this season. In the regular Principality Premiership fixture back in September Keys ran in 6 tries as they eased to a 48 points to 3 victory at Pandy Park. Keys' tries coming from a brace by skipper Scott Matthews and one each for Josh Prosser, Darren Hughes, Mathew Powell and Leon Andrews. Geraint Rhys Jones kicked all 6 conversions and also added a pair of penalties. Neath's only score came via an Ed Howley penalty. The side's met again at Pandy Park back in February in the 2nd Round of the National Cup and Keys secured a quarter final place with a 29 points to 10 victory. Keys tries in that Cup win coming from Nathan Trowbridge and Ieuan Jones together with 19 points from the boot of Josh Prosser. Aaron Grabham crossed for Neath's only try with Ed Howley kicking the conversion and a penalty for his side.
The Cross Keys side for Saturday's game has been announced and Keys make a number of changes with several players unavailable for a variety of reasons. In the backs Ross Pritchard starts at scrum half with both Owain Leonard and James Leadbeater unavailable. There is also a rare start for Jacob Unwin in the centre and Joe Goodchild starts at full back. Up front Keys bring in Rob Jones to start at hooker whilst Tom Lampard replaces Danny Hodge in the second row. Adam Powell is also unavailable so Rhys Fitzgerald starts on the flank. The bench includes Josh Skinner who has been out of action with a hand injury since November and Lloyd Lewis is also named in a Keys squad for the first time this season after recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered at the Fosters National Sevens in pre-season. Dragons academy prospect Corey Howells is also named amongst the replacements.
The Cross Keys side in full is:-
15. Joe Goodchild
14. Mathew Powell
13. Jacob Unwin
12. Barney Nightingale
11. Nathan Trowbridge
10. Josh Prosser
9. Ross Pritchard
1. Lewis Smout
2. Rob Jones
3. Richard Cornock
4. Tom Lampard
5. Scott Andrews
6. Rhys Fitzgerald
7. Scott Matthews (c)
8. Ieuan Jones
Replacements: 16. Darren Hughes, 17. Luke Garrett, 18. Gary Carpenter, 19. Danny Hodge, 20. Josh Skinner, 21. Lloyd Lewis, 22. AN Other, 23. Corey Howells.
Neath v Cross Keys Principality Premiership Tier 2
Date: Saturday 8th April 2017
Venue: The Gnoll, Neath
Kick Off: 2.30pm