Llandovery take on the reigning Principality Premiership champions Pontypridd in an attractive pre-season friendly at Church Bank this Saturday, writes Huw S Thomas.
Coach Lyndon Lewis is really looking forward to the challenge of facing Wales’ top side.
“We must all measure ourselves against Ponty who remain the most consistent, combative and best organised club side in Wales,” said Lewis.
“We took them close in our home league game last year and led 27-15 before drawing 27-27 so we know we can compete with them but beating them is a bit more difficult to achieve.”
“That being said, we have trained well and hard with some of our new signings looking sharp and determined so we are hopeful of another successful campaign in the Premiership.”
The Drovers have finished fourth, second and fourth in the last three years - testament to the sterling work of Lewis and his assistant Euros Evans – and there is quiet optimism that they can again finish high up.
There is also the possibility of representing the Scarlets region in the British and Irish Cup but they have to beat first Llanelli (August 30) and then Carmarthen Quins (September 6) to qualify.
The arrival from Swansea of two very quick and inventive backs in Richard and Rhys Williams (no relation) will further strengthen an already talented back division.
Both impressed Lewis and Evans when playing for the All Whites against the Drovers last season and can play wing or full back. The pair – both Bonymaen products, as are a number of the Llandovery squad - will be out to impress the Church Bank faithful this Saturday.
Wing Aaron Warren and centre Matthew Jacobs are fully fit after missing the latter part of last season but scrum-half Rhodri Davies who has not long had a shoulder operation will not be seen until October.
However the arrival of last year’s Wales U18 scrum-half Kieran Hardy to join both Lee Rees and Gareth Rees in the No 9 shirt has been a welcome boost.
A number of young and talented fly-halves have been busy training at Church Bank including Josh Batcup (Hendy) and Steff Marshall (Llangennech) and will be given a chance to fight for a first team squad place either on Saturday or a week later when the Drovers travel to National One side Cinderford.
Up front the loss of lock Llew Jones to Ealing and the departure to the Scarlets of prop Wyn Jones and skipper Phil Day is not as bad as it sounds.
Stalwart Bryn Griffiths and much improved Richard Catchpole will form a solid second row unit and there is much encouragement at the training form of two developing locks in Jake Baker and Jake Simms.
Props Dexter Thomas and Lewys Jonathan did well last year when they came on as replacements and Jamie Kayjaks will also bolster front row strength now that he has at last recovered from injury
The outstanding Day remains captain despite his commitment to the Scarlets and the club hope that he will be released back as often as possible when not in the Scarlets Saturday line-up.
Two young back rows in Shaun Lewis (Llandeilo) and Andrew Green (Brynamman) have shown up well in training to complete a picture of an all round determined enthusiasm to take the club forward once again.
Llandovery take on Pontypridd at Church Bank this Saturday (Kick off 2.30pm).