BEDWAS chief Ian Gardner insists his players are under no illusions about the task that awaits them tomorrow when they take their perfect record to reigning Principality Premiership kings Merthyr, writes David Williams.

The Ironmen saw head coach Lee Jarvis leave the Wern earlier this week having guided the club to the league trophy last season on the back of Division One East and Championship title successes.

Jarvis’ final match in charge was a 24-17 defeat by Cardiff, and it is that result, plus the former Wales fly-half’s departure, that Gardner believes is going to make Bedwas’ job this weekend even tougher.

On top of those factors, Gardner’s troops will also be without key forwards Robson Blake, away with the Dragons, and Morgan Allen, who pulled a hamstring against Newport.

But while Merthyr have plenty of motivation to bounce back after a difficult week, Bedwas themselves are striving for a third straight bonus-point triumph in the Premiership’s eastern conference (kick-off 2.30pm).

“We’ve had a perfect start and I couldn’t have asked for more from my players and coaching staff, they’ve all been excellent” said Gardner.

“Probably the most pleasing thing is how everyone has bought into the new regime and got to grips really quickly with the way we want to play.”

He added: “Merthyr are going to provide us with a really stern test in the sense that they are the champions and have got such a strong squad to choose from.

“They are going to be hurting from the loss to Cardiff and Lee Jarvis left the club in the week, and when a coach leaves it always seems to focus the minds of the players even more.

“Emotions are going to be charged so we’ve got to make sure we are prepared, and the players and coaching staff are under no illusions about how tough the task is going to be.

“It’s also going to give us a good indication of where we are.”