Simon Raiwalui and Adrian Garvey will start in the Newport Rugby pack that turns out against Welsh National League Division Three East club Abergavenny at Rodney Parade on Friday, 1 March (kick-off 7.30pm)The black and ambers were looking for a fixture to bridge the gap between last weekend's Principality Cup victory at Bonymaen and their next
Welsh/Scottish League game against title rivals Glasgow next weekend. Promotion candidates Abergavenny were invited to take up the challenge and their coach, the former Newport favourite Keith James, willingly accepted. It means a return to Rodney Parade for the former Wales B stand-off who played 262 games for the club and ended as a coaching partner to the current team manager, Jim McCreedy.
"It's great that Abergavenny have agreed to come to Rodney Parade to play against us. We need to keep our momentum going because we have some crucial league games coming up against Glasgow and Ebbw Vale," said McCreedy.
"I know that Abergavenny, just like Bonymaen in the cup last weekend, will give us a tough time, and that is exactly what we are looking for. We've picked a strong side and it's good to have a full squad to pick from once more.
"Shane Howarth, Alix Popham, Nathan Brew, Emyr Lewis, Rod Snow and Martyn Llewellyn are all fully fit and all bar Shane and Rod will start the game on Friday night. The other two are listed among our relacements.
"Ian McIntosh, our coach, found that the international series in November halted the progress of the side. The same happened at the start of the Six Nations.
"That's why we need a game to keep the players sharp and ready for the challenges that lie ahead in both the Welsh/Scottish League and in our defence of the Principality Cup."
Tickets for the game are Å"3 for adults and Å"1 for children. Full bar facilities will be available in the clubhouse and one bar will be open in the ground. There will be limited parking at the clubhouse.
NEWPORT RUGBY: Emyr Lewis; Martyn Llewellyn, Nathan Brew, Scott Williams, Ben Breeze; Jason Strange, Dale Burn; Ceri Jones, Paul Young, Adrian Garvey, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Joe Powell, Jason Forster, Gareth Gravell, Alix Popham.Replacements (from); Rod Snow, James Richards, Adam Jones, Ian Hughes, David Pattison, Matt Pini, Shane Howarth, Ofisa Tonu'u, James Rowles.
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.