With the Principality Premiership season underway; and the TV fixtures underway following Ebbw Vale vs Aberavon, Robert Rees looks at the influential men who will be key for each team, in the 2018/19 season.
Teams are listed alphabetically, with one player chosen that will [likely] influence the fortunes of that team within the Regions.
Aberavon – Joe Tomalin-Reeves (Flanker)
The young, powerful flanker has been crucial for Aberavon at the breakdown this season, causing hassle for any opposition forward in his path. The young man is a true leader for those around him and has displayed some excellent performances in his opening two games this season.
Great game by Joe Tomalin-Reeves. Showing some great defence work & attacking presence | Photo by Anthony Staton pic.twitter.com/6VR2G4ayln
— Aberavon RFC (@AberavonRFC) April 19, 2015
Playing to a high standard since winning the Players Player of the Year in 2016, Joe will be hoping to put in a big-season. The Wizards fans will also expect much from their back row – Tomalin-Reeves also possesses a carrying threat and isn’t shy of taking the ball into space.
Bargoed – Darren Humphries (Inside Centre)
In a new-look Bargoed centre partnership with former Cross Keys centre Barney Nightingale, Humphries is sure to cause opposition defences a problem if he gets ball in hand. The powerful midfield runner is also a key player in their defensive setup.
Bedwas – Dale Rogers (Hooker)
The veteran hooker has been a key figure in the Bedwas pack for some time now. He’ll be decisive in keeping the Bedwas set piece rock-solid throughout this season. Rodgers is also a mobile front row forward who is able to put in a shift around the park.
Bridgend – Aaron Grabham (Wing)
Solid in defence and clinical in attack, Grabham is a very dangerous player in all departments. The Ravens winger is always busy and looking for work as he aims to be a part of a successful Bridgend team.
Cardiff – Rory Pitman (Back Row)
Alongside Morgan Allen, the former Scarlets back row will offer a powerful carrying option if he remains fit as well as being a key component to their set piece. Pitman’s size also aids in defence as Cardiff look at remaining in the Principality Premiership.
Carmarthen Quins – Haydn Pugh (Lock)
The Quins captain not only offers leadership to his fellow teammates, he offers a powerful role in their set piece. A component of their game that they’ll be looking to set and score from a lot this season. Part of a solid set of forwards, he’s a threat as a unit and in the loose.
Cross Keys – Jason Tovey (Fly Half)
The former Dragons and Edinburgh player returned to the regions of Wales, with an eye of going back to club rugby over the summer. He made his return to Gwent, joining up with the Keys.
With a strong pack in front of him he’ll look to control his teams attacking display. Leading and distributing with a professional touch.
Ebbw Vale – Rhys Jones (Fly Half)
The older brother of former player Dorian, young Rhys joined from the Scarlets over the summer. A brilliant distributor of the ball and a leader on the pitch he’ll be Ebbw’s key man in their attacking game this season. He also holds the ability to kick with both feet enabling him to comfortable be a threat from the tee all over the pitch.
Llandovery – Lee Rees (Scrum Half)
The centre of the Drover’s attacking flair for several seasons now has started where he left off last season. Commanding huge amounts of points in their opening two games. A real general up at Church Bank (see main picture), Rees can execute his varied gameplan against most teams menacing plenty of defences.
Llanelli – Chris Long (Flanker)
A rare bright spark in an already troubled season. Given a better forward platform he could really cause some issues this season. Looking good in defence in his opening game against Ebbw Vale as well as being a vital part of their set piece.
Merthyr – Jay Baker (Wing)
Moving from Aberavon over the summer, the devastating finisher is being tipped to become the league’s top try scorer this season. He has a killer instinct for the tryline, has already crossed the whitewash this season and is expected to do plenty more with the backs he has inside of him.
Neath – Aaron Bramwell (Outside Centre)
A star performer of this season so far, Bramwell forms a crucial part of the Neath attack. Possessing a powerful carrying game as well as pace to beat his opposite man, he’ll cause many issues. His technique is also crucial to his attack as he powers into contact, allowing him to make yards after the initial hit.
Newport – Elliot Frewen (Full Back)
The leader in the Newport three-quarter line, Frewen possesses an aerial threat as well as a running one. A good bet to score tries this season, he’ll also be a pillar in their defensive duties. With plenty of experience he’ll be a key player in leading the Newport squad to safety this season.
Pontypridd – Dale Stuckey – (Wing)
A veteran of Sardis Road, the powerful try scoring winger will add a tremendous leadership value to his side this season. Handy in both attack and defence he also pitches in with points from his boot. Adding an extra string to his bow of versatility. He’s one to look out for at Ponty, putting on excellent performances that please the Sardis crowd.
RGC1404 – Billy McBryde (Fly Half)
Son of Wales coach Robin Mcbryde, Billy made the move north over the summer as he left the Scarlets for Colwyn Bay. The talented fly half offers a strong running game, allowing the backs around him to thrive as well as darting about himself. He also adds a strong kicking game which will taunt defences if they give him too much time.
Swansea – Nathan Trowbridge (Full Back)
Experienced full back Trowbridge knows the league well. A powerful running from deep as well as a strong kicking game makes him a real big danger to the opposition. A player who can vary up play and isn’t afraid to try things is always useful to a Swansea side that are expected to be fighting nearer the bottom end of the table come May.
Principality Premiership key players in for an exciting season
There is a lot of talent within the Principality Premiership and there will be a lot of key players for each side as relegation enters the fray this coming May. An exciting season lies ahead with plenty of games on TV. Players will be looking to show what they can do in front of a wider audience.
Despite the troubled start for some clubs over the summer, once the whistle blows fans will enjoy the wares displayed by these players and as clubs look towards survival the season will be one of the most interesting in recent history.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images