Pembrokeshire rugby previews for Saturday, December 15th:


Narberth v Rhydyfelin

It has been a big two weeks for Narberth - they have not been at their best but have ground out wins over Beddau and Newbridge to keep in touch at the top. 

When you're in the Championship, finding a way to win in scrappy, physical contests is crucial.

The situation at Neath has seen them add Ryan Bean to an already strong squad, and they host a Rhydyfelin side in seventh place. The Otters have also already beaten them 21-12 at the Lewis Lloyd.

Narberth are fourth with games in hand on the two teams above them and have this fixture and then struggling Newcastle Emlyn (again at home) before Christmas.

Two wins will leave them in good shape by the time Santa arrives. 

Narberth: Ianto Griffiths, Nick Gale, Jack Price, Jake Jenkins, Yannick Parker, Jonathan Rogers, Lewys Gibby, Bradley Davies, Rhodri Owens, Tom Slater, Ryan Bean, Alen Jenkins, Rich Rees, Tom Powell, Steffan Powell. Replacements: Dan Jacobs, Jake Smith, Andrew Cooke, Kieron Jones, Rhys Lane.

Division One West:

Gorseinon v Whitland

Whitland were back in the game at 3-3 at Dunvant last week before an interception try changed the game.

But The Borderers beat Gorseinon 27-20 back on the first day of the season and Dan Mason and Gareth Bennett will target bouncing back here against a side a place below them in the table.

Following this one, Whitland have back to back Pembrokeshire derbies with Tenby and then Crymych. I suspect they have already done enough to avoid a return straight back to Division Two West but if they want to push for a top half finish, they are entering a crucial phase of their season.

Whitland: Nico Setaro, Liam Price, Gino Setaro, Josh Thomas, Rhys Schiavone, James Stephenson, Josh Thomas, Aaron Mayne, Gethin Lewis, Jimmy Buirds, Courtney Bowman, Raff Williams, Ben Kirk, Ryan Morgan, Jack Mason. Replacements: Marc Jones, Jamie Thomas, Danny Evans, Scott Buirds, Adam Davies.

Tenby United v Crymych

On the opening day of the season Crymych notched a last gasp 20-19 win over Tenby. Coach Gareth Thomas must wonder how differently things may have panned out had the Seasiders held on that day.

But as it is Tenby are second bottom without a win, while Crymych arrive in good form having beaten Dunvant and Gorseinon before taking two bonus points from Llangennech.

Tenby themselves played well in the second half in a 34-12 loss to Gorseinon but they were already 29-0 down by half time and simply put, they have to be in the contest for 80 minutes here.

A Pembrokeshire derby with a lot at stake, and torrential rain a distinct possibility.

It may not be pretty, but I expect it to be intense.

Tenby United: Jack Tucker, Geraint Powell, Aaron James, Moritz Neumann, Jordan Asparassa, Shane Rossters, Ben Pugh, Huw Evans, Tom Barrass, Rob Luly, Roy Osborn, Luke Dedman, Luke Hansford, Harry Phillips, Jack Broadhurst. Replacements: Nicky Guymer, Ethan Morgan, Wyndham Williams, Lloyd Thomas, Lewis Davies.

Division Two West:

Fishguard v Loughor

It was great win for Fishguard last week, a wholehearted display that for now at least, eases any fears of a relegation battle.

In fact another win here could put that prospect to bed entirely and they will be confident. They lost 32-31 to Loughor earlier in the season after paying the price for a terrible start.

But the visitors battled back to give Pembroke a late scare on Saturday and have four points more than the Seagulls, so Nathan Jenkins will need his side to dig deep again.

Flanker Lewis Davies was outstanding in that Pontyberem game and if Geraint Jones were to play on permit from Whitland again, it would be a big boost.

St Clears v Pembroke

The secret is out - Pembroke are contenders for back to back to promotions.

Their win in Loughor last week, inspired by Toby Smith, kept them second in the table and better still their squad was a young one with some first team regulars missing. Their game was featured by the popular 'Deadball Line' Twitter account and many rivals would have taken note.

St Clears meanwhile didn't play and are now in danger of being cast adrift with Tumble in the bottom two.

But they battled hard at Crickmarren earlier in the season in a 29-20 defeat, and with home advantage and the weather often a leveller, this is no easy trip for the Scarlets.

In fact, if Geraint Lewis' side are to stay in the hunt, this is exactly the sort of tricky fixture them must come through.

Division Three West A:

Cardigan v Laugharne

You can only beat what is in front of you, and Cardigan were clinical in running in 16 tries to put a ton of points on St Davids last week.

Skipper John Lumb had a field day with six of them, while Laugharne had a week off after battling past Neyland the week before.

The last time these sides met, The Cocklemen prevailed 22-10 thanks to a dominant display up front. Cardigan player coach Colin Davies will want to re-address the balance there and if he does, there won't be much in this.

Llangwm v Haverfordwest

The Wasps showed real heart against Milford last week, taking a 6-5 half time lead before succumbing to five second half tries.

Their front row of Dan Hughes, Gethin Thomas and Gavin Jones were three to tackle their hearts out and needless to say, they will be every bit as fired up and more this weekend.

That late defeat to Tylorstown last week was a sickener for the Blues. To have that journey and performed like that only to have their Principality Stadium ambitions crushed at the death would have been very deflating.

But Steve Barnett must find a way to pick his side up for this. Although having said that, the fear of defeat against arch rivals who have they fended off for so long, should be motivation enough.

I imagine The Wasps will welcome any rain and mud, and while they always start underdogs in this, they sure as hell won't be rolling over.

Llanybydder v Aberaeron

A big game this.

Aberaeron's only league defeat so far was against Llanybydder on the opening day, but since then they have won five league games on the trot and progressed to the last 16 of the Bowl. Llanybydder meanwhile, have faltered with defeats to Neyland and Haverfordwest.

They did win 52-6 in their last game at St Davids but a defeat here will make their hopes of a swift return to Division Two West very difficult.

Both sides have quality goal kickers in Steff Richards and Rhodri Jenkins and in what could be a close, weather affected contest, their battle with the boot could decide things.

Milford Haven v Pembroke Dock Quins

The Mariners were guilty of white line fever for 40 minutes at Pill Parks last week, and were further frustrated by some brave Llangwm defending before getting it together second half.

But they now lie top after seven wins from seven, and with a huge game at Haverfordwest to come (December 29th) Nathan Williams won't care about putting on a show here. He'll want a bonus point win and no fresh injury problems to boot.

The Quins have come up short against Llangwm and Tregaron these past two weeks, two games they would have seen as winnable. But they inevitably went to Mid Wales depleted and despite a Rhys Bradney try, were well beaten.

For Neil Machin it's about getting a squad together and a committed display at The Obs. Then the Quins will have the Christmas break to re-group and target a post Christmas improvement.

Neyland v Tregaron

On the opening day, Neyland ran out in 60-12 winners in Tregaron.

But they are currently crippled by injuries and unavailability and were forced to withdraw from their Bowl game in Usk last week.

So it goes without saying they need players, and front row ones especially, back this weekend. Veteran second row Mark James admirably helped out in that department in Laugharne, a game the All Blacks were winning until late on before inevitable set piece pressure took its toll.

And Tregaron will be buoyed from that first victory last week, hammering Pembroke Dock 59-5. Prop Dorian Pugh scored two tries to continue his good season and if the forecast rain comes in, the battle up front could be a messy one.

Neyland at full strength I would back with room to spare. But Tregaron dragged Milford into a dogfight at The Obs earlier in the season, and they will be looking to the same.