CROSS KEYS vs. NEWPORT

“It’s tough at the top” is an appropriate saying for Newport RFC.  After a bonus point win last Saturday against Bargoed put them up to fifth in the league, Aberavon has moved above them due to their Boxing Day win over Neath.  The Black & Ambers now need another away victory over neighbours, Cross Keys, to get back to fifth and also to maintain their place in the top six.

Cross Keys always relish playing Newport especially on their own patch and will be determined to make it as difficult as possible for the Rodney Parade outfit. It’s a dogfight at the lower end of the table and Keys have had some mixed performances but they know that a win would put them above the relegation zone.  It promises to be a tight local derby game.

Although picking up a couple of injuries last week Newport still field a strong starting line-up and a very useful bench.  Will Evans starts at hooker, swapping places with Henry Palmer.  Josh Skinner moves to second row following Andy Mann’s injury and Mathew Reed comes in at Eight.  ‘Wibble’ has made an impact off the bench in the last couple of games and deserves his start.  Tom Lucas gets the nod at nine in a position which is highly contested.  The other backs positions are unchanged.

Newport:  Dan Preece, Will Evans, Tom Piper, Joe Bartlett, Josh Skinner, Rhys Jenkins, Kyle Tayler, Mathew Reed, Tom Lucas, Matt O’Brien, Elliot Frewen, Geraint O’Driscoll, Chay Smith, Harri Lang, David Richards.

Replacements:  Henry Palmer, Lewis Smout, Nick Thomas, Huw Taylor, Chris Williams, Geraint Watkin, Haydn Simons, Andy Evans.

Referee:  Mike English

AR1:  Gareth John

AR2:  Mark Johns

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
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