Aberavon will launch their British & Irish Cup campaign in Scotland this weekend, buoyed by the support of the Ospreys who supply a number of registered players under permit from their regular clubs
The Wizards face Gala on Saturday to kick-off their Pool 5 clash ahead of games against Bristol and Leeds Carnegie, and following changes to the tournament for this season will be flying the flag for Ospreylia having defeated both Swansea and Bridgend to qualify as regional representative.
In addition to the likes of Evan Yardley, Sam Williams, Matthew Jenkins and Will Price, all regulars in the red and black of Aberavon, the Ospreys will also supply the following players:
Nicky Smith Nicky Thomas, Scott Otten, Shaun O’Rourke, Jack Jones, Rhodri Hughes, Nathan Edwards, Ashley Evans and Jamie Murphy.
Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, Andy Lloyd, said:
“This is a good opportunity for some of the players on the regional development pathway to get some valuable experience playing at a higher level, against some leading semi-pro teams in both England and Scotland.
“The Ospreys truly believe that young players should represent their local club. However in this instance, because of the way that the competition is now structured and the fact that we don’t have ‘A’ teams as regions, we feel that it is an important opportunity for the next generation of players to come together and play as a team in the British & Irish Cup under the banner of the Wizards, alongside their regular squad, to hopefully make a good impression under Head Coach, Simon King and his team.
“We are grateful to all four of our regional Premiership clubs for their understanding of the new British & Irish Cup and the way in which they are supporting each other to ensure a strong Ospreylian representation. However, they remain entirely committed to playing for their clubs in the Premiership week in, week out, as they look to establish themselves as Ospreys.”
Simon King, Head Coach;
“We're looking forward to the British & Irish Cup challenges ahead and it will be an excellent opportunity for a number of our players to gain invaluable experience against a couple of fully professional teams. Bristol, Gala and Leeds are teams with a great heritage, similar but not greater than ours. This also gives other players the chance to recover and recuperate ready for the next batch of league fixtures.
“ As the regional representatives in the competition it is an excellent stage for a wider audience to see Aberavon RFC and respect the achievement of our qualification. We have a responsibility to the club and everyone who plays fully appreciates and understands what a good opportunity this is.
“We are five weeks into the season and there is a great deal to play for - this gives us chance to continue our preparation and everyone should realise that the Premiership continues to improve and there is a long way to go. We will never walk away from the challenge; our players will learn from all experiences and move on. They will stick together as they have done in the past and work as hard as they can to improve whilst representing the Wizards starting this weekend up in Gala.
Andrew John, Aberavon RFC Chairman said;
“We are delighted to be representing the Ospreys region in the British and Irish Cup and equally delighted to be playing such famous clubs as Bristol, Leeds and Gala who we play in The Borders this weekend which is a trip we are looking forward to immensely.
“These games represent a huge challenge to our side and we are looking forward to hosting these three clubs at Aberavon with Bristol and our old friend Sean Holley making the short journey across the bridge a week Saturday (19/10 2.30pm KO)”
The Sandboys will be playing in the bar after the Bristol game and we hope that supporters from both sides will enjoy the game and the after match activities in the clubhouse afterwards.