Post by Jamie Crawford on Aug 4, 2019 9:15:59 GMT
Bridgend Ravens preview
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The Ravens are in the Welsh Premiership where they finished eleventh last season. This was not a comfortable end to the season and the Ravens will be looking to improve their performance to rise up the table. Eleventh from sixteen teams doesn’t sound too worrying until you know that the bottom four teams are relegated and the twelfth plays the winners of the WRU Championship on a neutral ground to determine who stays or is promoted & relegated.
“The 2018–19 Principality Premiership was the third season of the new format of the Principality Premiership, the top tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. It was contested by sixteen Welsh clubs following an expansion from twelve teams at the start of the 2016–17 season. This season sees the end of "ring-fencing" and relegation returns for this season with four, possibly five, teams being relegated to the 2019–20 WRU Championship.” (Wikipedia)
The Welsh tried ring-fencing and rejected it, could the RFU learn from that?
Since 1920 Bridgend Ravens play at Morganstone Brewery Field in Bridgend. The Ravens have had two periods of exile from their Field, firstly when a greyhound racing syndicate used it for seven years from 1928-1935, then in 1948 a newly-formed Brigend Rugby League club acquired a three-year lease. Brewery Field was compulsory purchased by Bridgend Urban District Council in 1957 after the Field was in a state if disrepair and all of the utilities needed re-installing. The Ravens have roosted at the Field after the Council granted them a 21-year lease with an option for a further 21 years. Coincidentally (?) 21 years is the average lifespan of a wild raven.
Bridgend are a feeder club to the Ospreys regional team.
“…The new coaches replace the departing team of Matt Silva, Grant Hall, Demetrius Brook and Mike Morgan, with those individuals leaving with the best wishes of Bridgend Ravens RFC.
The new coaching team will be headed by Steve Jones, who steps up from his role as Forwards Coach to become Bridgend Ravens Head Coach. ‘Jabba’ has been involved with Bridgend Ravens since August 2017, and was part of the coaching setup which secured Premiership survival at the tail end of last season. Steve’s professional rugby career was hugely successful; winning five Welsh caps and making 180 appearances for the Dragons regional side. He will combine his coaching duties at Bridgend Ravens with his professional role at Gower College and coaching with the Ospreys u16s.” (http://bridgendravens.co.uk)
Jones Davies will be the new Forwards Coach, Richard Fussell will become the Backs Coach. Richard will be helped by former Bridgend Raven Tom Grabham, who had to retire early due to a Knee injury.
[Alun Wyn Jones needs no explanation of his playing career except to state that he is the, “…World's most-capped lock forward and Wales' joint most capped player alongside Gethin Jenkins. He has also won nine caps for the British & Irish Lions.” (Wikipedia)
Wyn Jones is still playing and with 129 Welsh caps he is already the fifth most-capped player in rugby union history. A further accolade is that he was named as the best player of the 2019 Six Nations Championship.]
Alun Wyn Davies has coached Wales Women, been Forward Coach at Cardiff University and was then promoted to their Director of Rugby after three years. Under Wyn
Jones Davies' Directorship the University had an unbeaten record in Welsh Varsity Matches and a BUCS Premier Division South title in 2017/18.
Richard Fussell, “…started his coaching career last season as Head Coach of the Ospreys Development side which competed in the Celtic Cup. During his playing career, he played Premiership rugby with Pontypridd before he made 82 appearances for the Dragons and 113 appearances for the Ospreys. He ended his career at the Liberty Stadium in 2016 before taking up a role with the region as skills coach in the same year…” (http://bridgendravens.co.uk)
It sounds like the Ravens’ new coaching set-up indicates their intention to improve. Their pre-season kicks off against us but their training schedule sounded as arduous as ours.
The Ravens start their season in the newly named Indigo Premiership with a home game against Aberavon on 7th September.
Griff said of the game on our website, ““They will bring blood and thunder, I coached their current coach Steve Jones, who is an excellent guy and a wonderful player as well and I know from the way he played that it’ll be a very committed performance from Bridgend, particularly on a Friday night at Brewery Field, having been there myself many years ago and had some tough encounters.
Any game when you cross the Severn Bridge is going to be a close one, so it is a good start for us and with the International the next day that we are going to watch it is going to be a very good training camp I feel.”
It will potentially be a good test for the new-look Knights against a new-look Ravens team.
DONNY, DONNY, DONNY…