Neath will be putting the two-week break from Premiership action to good use in terms of injury-recuperation for their hefty contingent of absentees.
Team manager Martyn Morris says, “It is not our policy to harp on about injuries ahead of games but now we have a break in Premiership we can take stock and disclose what is not a pretty picture to be honest.”
“It is something we have had to live with and it is no good bleating about it but, as Gareth Llewellyn said, the number of absentees has affected performances and for the moment it has ruled out any chance of us playing a friendly ahead of the Swansea game.
“It also limits the scope of players we can release on permits or dual-registration.”
Things are not too bad behind the scrum where the only casualties are Gavin Evans (knee) and Mike Evans (ribs).
But up front, props Ryan Thomas and Callum Jones and hooker Aled Morris are sidelined. Locks Rhys Jones, Jonny Griffith, Jon Barley and now Ryan Bean are ruled out as are flanker Elis Hopkins and skipper Jordan Collier while Ben Uphill (ankle) and Scott Hicks (knee) have been soldiering on with injuries.
That makes an unlucky 13 on the injured list while Ed Howley and Matthew Davies have been called up for the Ospreys BIC campaign where they will join Keiran Williams, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Ifan Phillips and the back row pair of Josh Cole and Charlie Davies.
“In total we have 20 players out of contention – and we only have 35 in all including permit players.” says Morris.
“We expect many of the casualties will be back by the end of the month with Aled, Jonny and Jordan the longer-term problems.
“Having the bulk of the squad available for the return fixtures will be a big boost because there is no doubt our results will need to pick up.”