Preview: Cardiff RFC v Ebbw Vale

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Cardiff RFC take on Ebbw Vale tonight looking to extend the winning start to the season and press home the advantage at the top of the Indigo Group Premiership table.

It has been a record breaking start to the campaign for the Blue and Blacks who continue to add to the best ever start in the semi-professional area, meanwhile we haven’t lost at the Arms Park since September 2018, winning every game at home this calendar year.

With Aberavon having seen their games against Llandovery called off last week, Cardiff’s lead at the top of the table is now seven points, and Steve Law’s men will be looking to maintain that gap against a struggling Ebbw Vale side.

The Steelmen are currently 10th, just a point ahead of Bridgend and Llanelli at the foot of the table, and actually lost at home to the West Wales side last weekend thanks to a convincing 10-29 scoreline.

Their only victory so far this season was a surprisingly good win at home against Llandovery, but even that saw the defence conceded over 20 points, something that has happened in every game during the campaign.

The story doesn’t get any better for Ebbw when looking at the most recent trip to the Arms Park either, with Cardiff running in 11 tries for a 75-17 win back in May at the end of last season.

Mathew Powell Cardiff RFC
Mathew Powell bagged two tries in the home win over Ebbw Vale last season

There are three changes to the Steelemen from that team that lose last week, with Rob Sevenoaks replacing Christian Coleman at tighthead, with Coleman on Dragons duty, while Dan Hill replaces the injured Cameron Regan on the blindside.

Then on the right wing there is a straight swap as Carwyn Penny gets the nod over Dafydd Thomas who drops to the bench.

There are two familiar surnames at openside and number eight as Owen and Lewis Young pack down. The former Cardiff Blues Academy members are the sons of Dai Young.

Ebbw Vale: Dan Haymond, Carwyn Penny, Paul King, Ethan Phillips, Ewan Rosser, Dai Langdon, Dan Babos; Luke Garrett, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks, Lance Randall, Ashley Sweet (c), Dan Hill, Owen Young, Lewis Young

Replacements: Ross Jones, Joe Franchi, Ellis Evans, Max Ayling, David Rusbasniak, Matthew Flanagan, Rheon James, Dafydd Thomas

The Cardiff RFC team shows a number of changes from that which was victorious in North Wales last weekend, with a number of Cardiff Blues Academy players selected, particularly in the backs.

Mason Grady will become the second youngest Blue and Blacks starter in the Premiership as he’s named on the wing, while Dan Fish and Ben Thomas get the nod at 10 and 12, respectively.

Ben Thomas Swansea RFC
Ben Thomas returns to the starting XV

Up front Teddy Williams returns at lock and James Botham is selected at number eight, while Evan Yardley and Zach O’Driscoll get the nod at hooker and openside flanker. James Thomas captains the team for the first time from the blindside.

A big bench includes Ethan Lewis, Morgan Allen and Alex Everett as they drop down from the starting XV, while another young Cardiff Blues Academy prospect in 18-year-old Ethan Lloyd will cover scrum-half.

Cardiff RFC: Edd Howley, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Ben Thomas, Barney Nightingale, Dan Fish, Ben Williams; Thomas Davies, Evan Yardley, Ollie Drake, Teddy Williams, Macauley Cook, James Thomas (c), Zach O’Driscoll, James Botham

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brynley Toms, Peter Lloyd, Morgan Allen, Alex Everett, Ethan Lloyd, Gareth Thompson, Joe Scrivens

A slightly different Blue and Blacks side this week as they move away from the obviously power based game we have seen over the last two games towards a more mobile loose five forwards, while retaining the danger in the backs.

As is always the case when teams come to the Arms Park they will be looking to get one over on the City slickers, especially as we now sit top of the league, so settling into a rhythm and the young players getting up to speed quickly is crucial to hit the ground running.

Then it’s about stringing together a performance for the full 80 minutes, with Cardiff guilty on a few occasions of not keeping their foot on the gas so far this season.

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