Neath have been handed a tough opener in the 2016/17 Principality fixtures, released today (Friday 8th July).
The Welsh All Blacks start with a visit to Premiership newcomers Bargoed on Saturday, September 3rd before entertaining another promoted side the North Walians of RGC at The Gnoll the following Saturday.
Away games at Cross Keys and Bedwas follow before home games against Ebbw Vale and Cardiff. After two weeks of Foster’s Cup pool games, Neath visit Pontypridd, then the November international month sees Neath host Newport, with an away game at Merthyr scheduled for November 12th, then home games against Bridgend and Llanelli.
December sees a trip to Llandovery before two further Foster’s Cup games lead into the traditional Christmas game at Aberavon and a New Years’ Eve home game against Carmarthen Quins.
A home game against Swansea completes the first half of the season when all 15 clubs will have been encountered and, after the final two Foster’s pool games and the first round of the Cup, the Division will “split” into two for the remainder of the season.
Captain Jordan Collier says, “It is a tough task taking on the two promoted sides first when they are at their freshest and keenest. But that is the kind of challenge we want and it will be nice to come up against Lee Beach again. We very much respect both Bargoed and RGC from our Cup games and they will be right up for it.
“But we are a different team this season and we have our own statement to make. The boys are really excited to hear the fixtures and it has given a real focus to our pre-season.”