Aberavon will be hoping Ceiron Thomas, a new signing from Cardiff, can boot them to safety
Principality Premiership action returns this Saturday with two intriguing local derbies.
Ceiron is a very welcome addition to the squad as he brings a huge amount of experience at a critical time of our season
At the bottom of the table, there is a vital clash at the Talbot Athletic Ground as Aberavon host Swansea. The two sides are eleventh and twelfth respectively and both sides know a win is vital if they are to have hopes of staying in the division.
Going into tomorrow's encounter, the Wizards have been boosted by the arrival of a number of new arrivals. Perhaps the most high profile of these is fly half Ceiron Thomas, who joins from Cardiff. Swansea-born Thomas made his debut for the Scarlets in the 2003-04 season and has also featured for Cornish Pirates and Leeds Carnegie.
"Ceiron has proved he can operate at the highest level," said Aberavon head coach Jason Hyatt. "He is a great talent, his leadership and experience will be invaluable in the development of our young players here at Aberavon".
Aberavon Chairman Andrew John added: "Ceiron is a very welcome addition to the squad as he brings a huge amount of experience at a critical time of our season and I'm sure he will be a key signing for us."
Also joining up at the Talbot Athletic Ground ahead of tomorrow's game are former Swansea backrower James Bija and fellow loose forward Andrew Gwynne. Cornish Pirates pair Rheon James and Tom Duncan complete the new arrivals.
"James Bija is the sort of player you would go to war with," said Hyatt. "He has one speed and that is flat out, aggressive and destructive.
"Andrew Gwynne is a player with an excellent all round skill set and is also an accomplished sevens operator. He has made an instant impact at Aberavon and I'm sure we will see him develop further".
Bija starts on the bench for the Wizards tomorrow with Thomas and James featuring in the backline from the off.
Saturday's other Premiership fixture sees Bedwas return to competitive action for the first time since January 11. Steve Law's side face a Cross Keys outfit who have impressed this season, but suffered only their fifth defeat of the season last time out away to Moseley in the British & Irish Cup. Tomorrow's game is the first of three quick-fire games between the two sides and Law knows his side are in for a tough encounter.
"Cross Keys are a fine team - they are in good form and we are expecting a difficult game," he said.
After not featuring since their SWALEC Cup victory over Bargoed a fortnight ago, Bedwas make a number of changes. Up front, Matthew Pettit replaces Joe Mills at tight head prop, captain Simon Grainger moves across to openside flanker with James Thomas and Dan Crimmins returning at blindside flanker and No. 8 respectively.
Behind the scrum, Tom Edwards starts at scrum half in place of Luke Crane, Glen Lewis returns on the left wing with Rory Budina moving to the opposite flank in place of Steve Cullen. Lewis Hudd starts at outside centre in place of Ryan Evans.
Keys have already defeated Bedwas once this season, Greg Woods' men easing to a 45-13 victory with Danny Hodge and Nathan Trowbridge crossing for a pair of tries apiece. Dorian Jones, Principality Premiership Player of the Month for December, starts at outside half tomorrow afternoon with Gerwyn Price moving from his normal hooking berth to the back row alongside Reuben Tucker and skipper Adam Powell.
Principality Premiership fixtures: Saturday, January 25.
Aberavon v Swansea (KO 2.30pm)
Bedwas v Cross Keys (KO 2.30pm)
Rob Howley and Josh Lewsey addressed more than 250 community club coaches and referees at the first WRU National Community Conference on the weekend. The volunteers benefitted from coaching masterclasses and workshops in a bid to connect all levels of the rugby pathway in Wales.
The winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.
Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange is proud of his side's effort in against Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final and as WRU TV's Liz Jones finds out, he's now looking forward to Wales' Under 20 campaign with confidence.
The countdown to the Junior World Championships starts in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to WRU U20 coaching co-ordinator Allan Lewis and captain Rory Thornton. We speak to the winning teams at SWALEC Finals Day, Wales Sevens manager Steffan Thomas and Wales women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton.
We hear from JPR Williams, Tommy David and all six clubs in SWALEC Finals Day, as well as the first woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. JPR and David reminisce over the 1979 final, while we hear from Pontypridd, Bridgend, Ystrad Rhondda, Ystradgynlais, Cambrian Welfare and Newcastle Emlyn. Kath Pritchard became the forst Welsh woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium - we speak to her and WRU community referee development officer Paul Adams.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
A look ahead to Judgement Day and back at youth finals day in the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Andrew Coombs, Jake Ball, James Davies, Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi. We also speak to Wattstown, Ystradgynlais, Rhydfelin, Pontypool United, Penallta and Pontypridd youth coaches at finals day at the Millennium Stadium.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
WRU National Academy Coaching manager Allan Lewis will retire, a new Elite Coach Development Manager post has been created and WRU international skills coach Jason Strange will now fulfil his WRU role on a full time basis.
Developing the game in Wales and creating a stable and progressive environment for players of the future
Taking the grass roots game out across the length and breadth of the nation, the SWALEC Leagues are the focus of the community rugby in Wales
SSE SWALEC Cup
The SSE SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl continue the legacy of the WRU Challenge Cup, culminating in a shot at glory at the Millennium Stadium
Women's Community Rugby embraces both the regional and community club game from Girls' Leagues through to the Women's Premier Division