Wizards face Ravens in derby cup clash

An Ospreylian derby between Aberavon and Bridgend at the Talbot Athletic Ground is the pick of the first round of the SWALEC Cup this weekend.

The Wizards  will be hoping to forget their place at the foot of the Premiership when they take on Ravens, in one of three all Premiership ties. Neath welcome Cross Keys to The Gnoll with the Welsh All Blacks looking to follow up their Boxing Day victory over the Wizards while the other all top-flight clash sees Carmarthen Quins face Swansea.

Both Bridgend and Aberavon will be hoping 2014 brings about an improvement in league form, but the two sides start the year with knock-out rugby. The Ravens make an interesting change at the top with forwards coach Paul Young taking charge of the side in place of regular boss Ben Rose. Young, who has been given control in order to progress in his coaching badges, is looking forward to the game.

"Being handed the reins against Aberavon has ensured an exciting start to my New Year," he said.

"While 2013 was very frustrating for the players, management and supporters alike, the SWALEC Cup challenges us further and gives us another opportunity to go in search of a complete performance.

"We have a talented, young group who are striving and learning all the time. The players have trained hard but it's now time to deliver. I look forward to leading this group in the first round of what is sure to be an exciting game."

Elsewhere, there are four all Championship clashes with runaway leaders Ebbw Vale hosting Beddau at Eugene Cross Park. The Steelmen enjoyed a run to last season's quarter finals, only exiting the competition after a one point defeat to eventual winners Pontypridd, and will be hoping for similar success this season. Cardiff Met take on Blackwood, Tondu visit Llanharan and Pontypool and Newbridge meet at Pontypool Park.

Tata Steel, who currently sit tenth in the SWALEC Championship, face a difficult trip to Parc y Scarlets. Llanelli are their opposition, Kevin George's side approaching this game after back-to-back wins over the Christmas period.

Bargoed's meeting with Bedwas and the game between Newport and Bonymaen have both fallen victim to the wet weather and will be rearranged for a later date.

Pontypridd, Llandovery, Cardiff, Narberth, Bridgend Athletic and RGC 1404 all received byes to Round Two.

SWALEC Cup Round One fixtures (all kick-offs 2.30pm):

Aberavon v Bridgend
Bargoed v Bedwas (POSTPONED)
Cardiff Met v Blackwood
Ebbw Vale v Beddau
Llanelli v Tata Steel
Llanharan v Tondu
Neath v Cross Keys
Newport v Bonymaen (POSTPONED)
Pontypool v Newbridge
Swansea v Carmarthen

Byes: Pontypridd, Llandovery, Cardiff, Narberth, Bridgend Athletic, RGC 1404.