Pride and points at stake for Newport and Bridgnorth
Bragging rights and all-important points are up for grabs as Newport and Bridgnorth go head-to-head in the Midlands Premier tomorrow.
It is set up to be a lively clash at Forton Road as hosts Newport are third, aiming to sustain a promotion push, while the visitors have won four on the bounce.
Newport head coach Bob Adams insists form does not matter for much though, and said: “It’s a bit of an old cliché but with local derbies, form goes out of the window really.
“We had a solid performance at Bournville last time out, a convincing (57-16) win, and they have been doing well.
“The previous two meetings, in the cup, have been very tight affairs which we just managed to come out on top in.
“I rate Bridgnorth’s defensive system – they are effective, they are organised.
“It’s about who turns up and wants it a bit more – and having that physicality is a major part of that.
“We’ve got to be disciplined and not give away stupid penalties like we did against them last time.”
Both sides go into the game on the back of a free weekend.
Adams added: “Both sets of supporters will look forward to it.
“It’s great for the county that both of us are doing reasonably well in the division.
“This game is just all about who wants it, and who takes their chances.”
Bridgnorth had a disappointing start to the campaign but appear to be back at their best.
Experienced scrum-half Gareth Bladen said: “We are all excited for the big derby game.
“It was nice to have a week off last week and recharge the batteries so we are ready to fire tomorrow.
“We know it’s going to be a very tough game, we lost earlier in the season in a cup game by a few points – but we know we have to be at our very best to come away with a vital win.
“League points and local pride is at stake and I know it will be fine margins and only a few points that will separate us.”
Newport director of rugby Chris Wilde added: “Certainly an exciting day is in store for all of us and I’m sure one that showcases all the qualities and camaraderie that rugby, like no other sport, has to offer.
“Bridgnorth come into the game on the back of four straight victories following a disappointingly poor start to the season, certainly one that nobody would have predicted after their impressive first season at this level last year.
“They are now very firmly back on track but continue to test the nerves of their followers with games that are seldom decided by more than one score so it is probably fair to say another nail-biter beckons.
“This should be a great day for both clubs.”
Newport openside flanker Rhys Morgan was rested for the last match but should be ready to return, and with almost everyone fit and healthy then some difficult selections will need to be made.
Wingers Melia Navaka and Sam Hughes are set to return too, although this clash may be too soon.
Bridgnorth hope to have fly-half Will Bishop and back row Charley Wright back available for selection this weekend.