Tough start away for Newport
6:01am Saturday 14th September 2013 in Sport
NEWPORT look to put behind them the frustration of last month’s disappointing British and Irish Cup play-off elimination by Cross Keys when they take on Aberavon this afternoon, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
A repeat of last September’s 23-20 Principality Premiership win away at the Talbot Athletic Ground would be most welcome as the Black and Ambers seek to open their league account with a win.
Great news for them is that talented centre Dan Robinson is set to play after recovering from a neck injury.
And the fact that new skipper Lee Beach, a back rower with vast professional experience after stints with the Ospreys and London Welsh, is also fit is a major boost.
The Wales World Cup sevens winner has overcome a knee injury and is due to make his competitive debut after missing the 39-17 defeat at Keys.
Not so good though is that back row duo Rhys Jenkins (knee) and Craig Attwell (hand/wrist) are still out injured.
Newport had a shocking campaign last season and it is time for them to fulfil their potential and reward their long-suffering faithful fans with a year that sees them seriously challenge in both league and cup.
But they won’t find it easy first up against an Aberavon side buoyed by their progression into the British and Irish Cup after play-off wins at home over Swansea (15-8) and Bridgend (35-26).
Usually formidable at home, they can be a real handful and narrowly failed to get to the Swalec Cup final in May despite a poor season by their recent high standards.
Aberavon: P Bamsey, M Powell, W Price, M Jenkins, S Andrews, J Davies, C Morgans, R Jenkins, I Davies, A Clatworthy (capt), G Ronan, I Moore, L Purnell, B Thomas, N Brown.
Replacements: D Davies, A Jones, R Thomas, E Yardley, C Davies, S Williams, N White, A Edwards.
Newport: G O'Driscoll, E Frewen, D Robinson, D Franchi, O Broad, E Davies, A Quick, N Williams, Andrew Brown, A Jeffries, D Rosser, Adam Brown, I Jones, S Waldron, L Beach (capt).
Replacements: A Frampton, G Robinson, D Pattison, D Rogers,T James, T Morgan, J Leadbeater, B Lampitt.
Referee: Wayne Davies (WRU)
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