SEVERAL important games are taking place in Wales over the weekend – Ian Golden previews the contests.
Torfaen Tigers play their first fixture in three weeks as they host Coventry Bears Reserves at Cwmbran RFC on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).
After defeats to their Welsh rivals in their last two games, the Tigers are currently bottom of the seven-team league table.
Coventry, with only three wins this season, are looking for a victory to strengthen their charge for a top four finish and put the pressure on the out of form All Golds, who are currently in fourth.
Coach Kyle Scrivens says that his side could have a youthful look this week as they embrace the talent coming through the ranks.
“We look forward to the visit of Coventry with excitement,” he said. “Cwmbran is a fortress for us and they are the only English side to ever beat us at home.
“There is a youthful look to our 17 as we aim to build for the future. There’s great talent in the club with lots of players at all levels wanting to play Rugby League.”
Valley Cougars travel to Nottingham Outlaws in a fixture that’s always highly anticipated.
Unbeaten in the last three games since losing at Torfaen last month, Nottingham are regaining the form that helped them beat the Cougars in last year’s Final.
But the Treharris-based side, who go into the game on the back of a tough win over All Golds Reserves last week, will be determined to do the double over their old rivals.
“We won well at home against Nottingham earlier this season,” said Cougars coach Dafydd Hellard. “But we know it’s always more difficult to travel in this league. We’ll need to be at our best to keep our position at the top of the table.”
In the Welsh Conference, West Wales Raiders team up with Trimsaran RFC’s Cae Ffair ground for two rugby league fixtures this weekend with all money taken being donated to the rugby union club.
Raiders’ reserves host Blaenau Gwent Sharks as they hope to build on their fine win over Cardiff City RL last week, whilst their under 15s take on Aber Valley Wolves on Sunday.
Raiders’ team manager Peter Tiffin said: “We would like everyone to come and watch to support the Raiders but also support Trimsaran RFC, as all the money taken on both days will go back to help Trimsaran with their plans of a new rugby club.”
The Sharks are still looking for their first win in this, their debut season. Their skipper Andrew Prouse said: “It’ll be a tough game away in West Wales especially after they beat Cardiff last week. We’ll need to be at our best to get a result there.”
Bridgend Blue Bulls face Cardiff City RL at Pyle RFC (kick-off 2.30pm) with both sides looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats last week.
The Blue Bulls were rendered scoreless for the first time ever in Wales last week and are also looking for revenge after losing in the capital earlier this season.
Bridgend team manager Steve Smith said: “We are looking forward to the visit of Cardiff on Saturday. After the defeat in the reverse fixture, we’re looking for a long overdue win. We have a couple of new players again this week so hopefully they gel with our experienced players.”
Cardiff coach Ben Thomas said: “It’s a big game Saturday against Bridgend who will be out to avenge the reverse fixture. Both Bridgend and ourselves are looking to return to winning ways and defeats last weekend. We know from last season Pyle RFC will be a tough place to go, but we are going down to compete and take the win.”
RFL Conference South:
Nottingham Outlaws v Valley Cougars @ Highfields, 14:30
Torfaen Tigers v Coventry Bears @ Cwmbran RFC, 14:30
Welsh Conference South:
West Wales Raiders Reserves v Blaenau Gwent Sharks @ Stebonheath Park, 14:30
Bridgend Blue Bulls v Cardiff City Rugby League @Pyle RFC, 14:30
DC Wildcats RL v Cardiff City RL @ Dowlais/Cefn RFC
Torfaen Tigers v Aber Valley Wolves @ Cwmbran RFC
West Wales Raiders v Aber Valley Wolves @ Stebonheath Park
West Wales Raiders v Torfaen Tigers @ Stebonheath RFC
Cardiff City RL v Aber Valley Wolves @ Rumney RFC