Keys hold the edge but face tricky test at Neath
IT IS 2-1 to Cross Keys against Neath this season, but they won’t be relishing heading back to The Gnoll today.
Keys are off to face their divisional rivals for a fourth time this season, and the stakes are now higher than ever, as the sides prepare to clash in the second Tier Two play off semi-final in the Principality Premiership.
The last time Cross Keys headed west they ended up losing 59-14 to the Welsh All Blacks and they will face a home side flush with confidence.
Neath played superbly to beat Bridgend last weekend and secure their place in the top four.
And whoever wins knows they will have to face Newport in the final, after the Black & Ambers came from behind in the second half to beat Llanelli in the first semi-final on Saturday.
“We have come a long way from where we were last season to effectively finish joint ninth this time around,” said Neath captain Jordan Collier.
“But we want to keep improving and Cross Keys are a good yard-stick as they have been one of the Premiership forces for a long time now.”
Former Wales, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues centre Gavin Evans will start at outside half for Neath, but they will be missing wing Alec Jenkins.
Jenkins injured his leg in an accident at work and is replaced in the starting XV for this crunch clash by Geraint Llewellyn, an able deputy, but Jenkins will be missed.
In the regular league season Keys comfortably defeated Neath 48-3 at home in September, and also beat them 29-10 in the WRU National Cup.