New faces as Neath face old foes
NEATH kick-off their new Welsh Premiership campaign with a mouth-watering clash against Llanelli at the Gnoll tomorrow (2.30).
The Blacks will include two debutants in their side to face Anthony Buchanan's men after both impressed in pre-season.
Full-back Ceri Young and Wales Under-20s lock Jack Jones will make their first competitive starts for the Blacks.
Also named in coach Neil Edwards's starting line-up is Alec Jenkins, who begins on the wing against his former side after recovering from injury.
Jordan Collier comes into the back row after enjoying an impressive tour of South Africa with Wales Under-20s development squad
"Llanelli will be a formidable challenge for an opening game. They have already qualified for the pool stages of the British & Irish Cup and seem to be including more Scarlets in their line-up this year," said Edwards.
"But we are looking to get our own performance right and it is good to have players like Ceri Young, Alec Jenkins, Jack Jones and Jordan Collier in the mix and pushing for selection."
Llanelli go into the game on the back of a victory over Llandovery, which booked their place in cross-border competition this season.
Buchanan's side triumphed with a 26-20 win at Church Bank, a week after Llanelli had produced a less-than convincing performance against Carmarthen Quins to win by a single point and reach the regional final.
And he is encouraged by that upturn as Llanelli turn their attention to league matters and their trip to face Neath.
"There was a big improvement from the Carmarthen game," said Buchanan.
"It was the second game we had together as a group and we played a lot better.
"We were a bit fortunate against Carmarthen, but we defended well and that's what got us through.
"Llandovery was also not an easy game to play in, another local derby, but we've come away with two wins out of two.
"We've done very well in the British & Irish Cup over the years, it's something that's key to our younger players' development.
"They get to experience travelling to new places and playing against quality sides, often fully professional outfits.
"But the Premiership is also very important to us."
Neath: C. Young; A. Jenkins, J. Smith, 1A. Jones, D. Ford; D. Langdon (capt), J. Davies; Roy Jones, S. Crocker, M. Jones; Rhys Jones, J. Jones; G. Bateman, J. Collier, G. Daniel. Reps: TBC.