Aberavon take a break from the Principality Premiership for the next fortnight as they enter the British & Irish Cup. The Wizards open their campaign by welcoming RFU Championship side Rotherham Titans to the Talbot Athletic Ground this coming Saturday, kick off 2:30pm.
Rotherham are currently sixth in the RFU Championship having won three, losing two, and drawing one of their games this season.
The Titans opened their Championship campaign with a 20 – 26 loss at London Scottish. Wing Peter Homan and replacement hooker Ted Stagg scored tries, while outside half James McKinney converted both and kicked a couple of penalties. The hosts scored one try and seven penalties.
The opening day defeat was followed by a 38 – 38 draw at home to Bedford Blues. The home side scored four tries through full back Mike Whitehead, number 8 Alex Rieder, centre Lee Blackett, as well as a penalty try. McKinney converted three of the tries and also kicked four penalties for a personal tally of 18 points. The Blues also scored four tries.
Rotherham’s first win of the season came with a 27 – 16 win at Nottingham. Outside half McKinney scored 17 points this time with five penalties and one conversion. Wing Eamonn Sheridan scored a try and the Titans were also awarded a penalty try. Nottingham scored one try in reply.
The Titan’s followed up their win at Nottingham with a high scoring 54 – 31 home win over Jersey. The South Yorkshire outfit scored six tries as wing Sheridan, replacement flanker Carl Kirwan, centre Pale Nonu – brother of New Zealand All Black Ma’a Nonu, flanker Rieder, replacement wing Mike Doneghan, and centre Garry Law all touched down. Law converted all six tries and added four penalties for a 29 point haul. The Channel Islands side scored four tries.
At the end of September Rotherham went down 3 – 15 away to Plymouth Albion – one of the other sides the Wizards will be facing in this season’s British & Irish Cup. Outside half Law kicked a sole penalty for the Titans, whilst the home side scored two tries, a penalty and a conversion.
Last weekend, at home to Bristol, the Titans ran out 23 – 16 winners. Flanker Rieder scored a try for Rotherham, who also had a penalty try. Law, playing full-back, converted both and also kicked three penalties.
Looking back in time at previous Wizards games played this weekend:
Ten years ago this weekend Aberavon won 38 – 21 at Narberth in a Division One league game. The Wizards dominated the first half as they put three scores between the sides and entered the interval 23 – 8 up. However, the Otters hit back in the second half to come back to within five points of the visitors before Aberavon sealed the game with two tries in the last six minutes of play. The Wizards try scorers that day were David Hawkins, Matthew Back, Dafydd Owen & Gareth Newman. Jamie Davies kicked three conversions and four penalties.
Five years ago this weekend Aberavon beat Pontypridd 23 – 12 at the Talbot Athletic Ground in the Premiership. Trailing Ponty 12 – 3 at the interval, a stunning second-half display saw the Wizards outscore their visitors 20 – 0 in the second half. A 17 year old Ospreys Academy centre by the name of Ashley Beck made his debut for the Wizards that day when he came on for John Leyshon in the 53rd minute, and made a big impact. Aberavon’s points came via tries by Marc Bennett and Richard Carter, with Beck having a big hand in Carter’s try. Jamie Davies converted both and added three penalties.
The referee for Saturday’s game is Charles Samson (SRU), aided by touch judges Hugh Watkins (WRU) and Terry Thomas (WRU).