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 18 15 0 3 534 302 76
Pontypridd 18 14 0 4 638 338 68
Cardiff 18 13 1 4 551 379 67
Ebbw Vale 18 13 1 4 397 292 62
Newport 18 12 0 6 470 430 57
Llandovery 18 11 1 6 506 321 57
Aberavon 17 11 1 5 402 355 53
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 17 9 0 8 444 354 50
Carmarthen Quins 18 9 0 9 394 340 47
Swansea 17 8 0 9 371 349 41
Cross Keys 17 4 1 12 379 562 28
Bridgend Ravens 16 5 0 11 316 424 27
Llanelli 18 4 1 13 337 499 25
Bedwas 17 4 0 13 341 527 23
Bargoed 17 3 0 14 327 574 17
Neath 16 1 0 15 261 622 3