Neath start their preparations for the new season with a double-date on Saturday.
The Welsh All Blacks are hosting the Cwmtawe Sevens at The Gnoll (10.00am) and they will also pay a 15-a-side visit to Maesteg (kick off 2.30pm).
Ed Howley and Wales Sevens winger Tom Rees head a speedy, youthful team in the Cwmtawe Sevens while the Maesteg match forms the centre-piece of a weekend’s celebrations for the Old Parish whose clubhouse re-opens after being badly damaged in an arson attack two years ago.
Maesteg were formerly part of Welsh club rugby’s elite but they have fallen from grace a little following relegation from the Premiership. They now operate in Division 1 South West but are showing signs of a renaissance under coaches Matthew McCarthy and Karl Hocking.
Neath will take their customary match-day squad of 23 – 15 starting with 8 replacements – and coach Gareth Llewellyn explains, “We brought in several new faces last season and have a lot of newcomers in the squad this year so. We have a lot of players who will be making their first appearances, we want to build our patterns and that starts here.”
Neath v Maesteg (Away)
15 Gareth Morris; 14 Kristian Corbisiero, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 Aaron Grabham; 10 Iwan Evans, 9 Josh Guy; 1 Matthew Jeffreys, 2 Aled Morris, 3 Ryan Thomas; 4 Tom Rowlands, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Charlie Davies, 8 Jordan Collier (captain), 7 Alun Jones
Replacements – Neil White, Sion Crocker, Geraint James, Matthew Davies, Leon Ward, Calum Davies, Chris Morgans, Rory Morgan-Williams
Cwmtawe Sevens (Starting)
Ed Howley, James Williams, Dan Guarneri, Tom Sadler; Tom Rees, Aled Cockwell, Ellis Hopkins
Replacements – Rory Morgan-Williams, Leon Ward, Calum Davies