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)
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.