Newbridge look to build for Steelmen
2:18pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
NEWBRIDGE will look to take their fine second half performance against RGC 1404 last weekend into Saturday’s big Gwent derby clash at home to Ebbw Vale, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
Andrew Gibbs’ men came back from an early 14-point deficit to go within a whisker of victory only to return from Colwyn Bay empty handed after a try at the death saw them go down 27-18.
Swalec Championship champions Vale come to the Welfare Ground in ominous form, clear by 11 points already at the top of the table and without a league defeat in 12 months.
Former Wales back row forward Gibbs tried to play down the significance of facing their old rivals but was encouraged by Newbridge’s display after the interval at Parc Eirias last week.
“It’ll just be another game this weekend, we won’t be putting a special onus on it,” he said.
“We’ll be looking to improve from last Saturday’s performance which was a frustrating one.
“We were as good in the second half as we were bad in the first and we ended the game the much better side.
“We could have won the match but ended up coming away without even a bonus point.”
Gibbs added: “We are playing well in patches but we haven’t clicked yet for the full 80 minutes and we’re not sure what our strongest formation is yet.
“But by December, we hope we do and that we’ll be a better side in the second half of the season.”
Newbridge have signed front row forward Neil Jones from Ystrad Rhondda, a player Gibbs admires.
“He’s a good loosehead prop who will add size and power to our scrum,” he said. “He should make his debut for us this weekend, either starting or coming on from the bench.”
Blackwood look to put some distance between them and basement side Bonymaen, when they host Bargoed at Glan-yr-Afon Park.
Just two points separate them and the Swansea outfit who are at the foot of the table.
Blackwood, with one win in seven, lost last week to the students from Cardiff Met and will be up against a visiting team who were surprisingly beaten at home by Bridgend Athletic last weekend.
Pontypool will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing 24-11 reverse away at Narberth last Saturday after they had led 11-3 at the break in Pembrokeshire.
That defeat saw Mike Hook’s men slip down the table to sixth and they host third-placed Cardiff Met at Pontypool Park.
It’s an excellent chance to get their show back on the road after their encouraging start to the season.
Swalec Championship: Beddau v Bonymaen, Blackwood v Bargoed, Bridgend Ath v Llanharan, Newbridge v Ebbw Vale, Pontypool v Cardiff Met, Tata Steel v RGC1404, Tondu v Narberth.
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