Neath v Cross Keys Preview & Team News

Cross Keys will look to start the New Year as they mean to go as they head to the Gnoll this Saturday for their first fixture of 2019, where they come up against the Welsh All Blacks in the Principality Premiership.

With both sides currently sitting in the relegation zone this may well promise to be a tense, nervy clash with both sides aiming to get away from the danger zone, although Neath’s plight has not been helped by the deduction of 6 points, 2 of which are suspended imposed by the WRU this week for the failure to fulfil fixtures against Bedwas and RGC1404 earlier this season.

Earlier in the campaign an entertaining fixture saw Keys come away with the victory, winning by 36 points to 30, against Neath who, for reasons largely out of their control have gone through much publicised turmoil since. Tries for Keys on that day came from Srdan Majkic, Owain Leonard and Wes Cunliffe with Jason Tovey adding all 3 conversions along with 5 penalties for the Keys. The Welsh All Blacks points came from tries by Callum Hall, Aaron Bramwell, Ian Ellis and a converted penalty try. Callum Hall also added a conversion and a penalty together with a penalty for replacement Iwan Evans.

Turning thoughts back to Saturday’s forthcoming game and the Keys have confirmed their team that will take on the Welsh All Blacks. In the pack there is just one change in personnel to the team that started against Newport 2 weeks ago. That change sees Joe Thomas come in to start in place of Harvey Reader, Thomas’ inclusion sees Tom Lampard move back in to the second row alongside Scott Andrews who started the season at the Gnoll. In the backs there are 3 changes which see Dragons Academy full back Carwyn Penny start for Keys for the first time. There will also be changes in the centre where Leon Andrews returns from injury to partner Adam Jones, who makes his Keys debut on permit from Cardiff. He is joined in the backline by his Cardiff teammate Llywarch Ap Myrddin, who continues on permit from the Blue and Blacks just as he did against Newport a fortnight ago. Dragons outside half Jacob Botica again starts at number 10, something he may well do for the remainder of the season with the Dragons now signing Jason Tovey permanently for the rest of the campaign.

The Cross Keys side in full is:-

15. Carwyn Penny
14. Llywarch Ap Myrddin
13. Leon Andrews
12. Adam Jones
11. Wes Cunliffe

10. Jacob Botica
9. Owain Leonard

1. Corey Hewlett
2. Ellis Shipp
3. Richard Cornock
4. Scott Andrews
5. Tom Lampard
6. Damian Welch (c)
7. Joe Thomas
8. Garin Price

Replacements: 16. Will Griffiths, 17. Taylor Hansen, 18. Gary Carpenter, 19. Joe Carlin, 20, Chris Johnsey, 21. Dylan Fidler, 22. Rory Budina, 23. Srdan Majkic.

Neath v Cross Keys Principality Premiership
Date:
 Saturday 12th January 2019
Venue: The Gnoll, Neath
Kick Off: 2.30pm

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Merthyr 23 18 0 5 651 393 91
Cardiff 23 18 1 4 696 469 89
Pontypridd 21 16 0 5 730 374 79
Llandovery 24 16 1 7 652 408 79
Newport 25 15 2 8 629 551 77
Ebbw Vale 24 16 1 7 541 423 76
Aberavon 22 14 2 6 485 415 69
Swansea 24 13 0 11 537 451 65
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 22 11 1 10 552 456 64
Carmarthen Quins 25 11 1 13 526 469 61
Bedwas 24 8 1 15 515 667 43
Bridgend Ravens 22 8 0 14 427 517 43
Llanelli 25 7 1 17 503 632 40
Cross Keys 23 5 1 17 464 734 34
Bargoed 23 4 0 19 400 756 22
Neath 24 1 0 23 350 943 3
FIXTURES