7:10am Friday 13th September 2013
By Iwan Gabe Davies
NEWPORT are boosted for tomorrow’s Principality Premiership opener with Aberavon by the earlier than expected return from injury of new captain Lee Beach.
The back rower hurt his left knee in the 40-23 pre-season friendly away defeat to Moseley and wasn’t expected to return until October.
The 30-year-old ex-Ospreys man, who signed over the summer from relegated Aviva Premiership side London Welsh, is raring to go.
Beach is hoping the Black and Ambers can quickly put behind their 39-17 British and Irish Cup play-off defeat to Gwent rivals Cross Keys.
“It was a disappointing defeat and it was frustrating for me because I had to watch it from the sidelines,” he said.
“The British and Irish Cup is a pretty decent tournament and the standard is maybe a little bit higher than the Premiership.
“But we can concentrate on the league and Swalec Cup now and work hard at putting things right, starting against Aberavon.”
He is confident Beach’s boys can make waves at the Talbot Athletic Ground where they beat the Wizards 23-20 last September, also on the opening day of the league season.
“You never get an easy game down there, but Newport have got a pretty good record over Aberavon in recent years so we’ve got to keep that going.
“We have worked at the things that went wrong against Cross Keys, so we’ll see how it goes this weekend.”
After calling it a day as a full-time pro, Beach is looking forward to juggling his work in recruitment with the demands of playing in the semi-professional game.
The strain of living in London away from his south Wales-based wife and their young family was one of the reasons he quit the Exiles.
“Joining Newport is a different challenge for me after retiring from professional rugby,” he said.
“I had a good 15 years as a professional player but that’s gone now and I’m looking forward to playing in a semi-professional league.
“It’s great trying to fit everything in around work and I’m excited and got the buzz back.
“We’ve got a good squad and if we gel, hopefully sooner rather than later, we’ll be a pretty strong force.”
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