Whites hope for boost from young Ospreys talent
SWANSEA open their Principality Premiership campaign at St Helen's tomorrow with Sam Kiley challenging their contingent of young Ospreys to help fire the club up the table in the season ahead.
Whites' supporters could this season be watching the finest young rugby player in the world, with Sam Davies having picked up the IRB's award as junior player of the year last term.
Depending on how often they are released by the region, Davies, Dan Baker, Nicky Thomas, Nicky Smith and Scott Otten are all set to feature in the months ahead. And the Whites need them to come good, according to Kiley.
"We have some very promising Ospreys boys who are going to go far in the game," said the club captain, who is recovering from a serious injury.
"All they lack is experience.
"But they are a year older this season and that counts for a huge amount. Hopefully, they can really do well for us this year."
The Whites will enjoy home comforts on the opening day of a campaign for the first time in the semi-pro era, with cricket usually meaning they start the campaign on the road. But they have dangerous opponents in Cross Keys.
Asked to pick out the big threats to his club in the league this year, Pontypridd head coach Dale McIntosh this week had no hesitation in naming the Gwent club. And Whites team manager Ian Hopkins agrees.
"Keys dispatched both Newport and Bedwas with some ease to qualify for the British & Irish Cup, so we know how strong they are," said Hopkins.
"It's a difficult opener, but at least we are starting at St Helen's. It's the first time for us to begin a season at home in the semi-pro era.
"The late start this term means there is no clash with the cricket, so it gives us the chance to open in front of our own fans, which is great."
Swansea have injury concerns at fly-half and plan to give late fitness tests to Cameron Clement and Justin Lewis.
The club, meanwhile, have been boosted by a new sponsorship deal with Swansea Harley-Davidson.
Swansea director of rugby Richard Moriarty said: "Without the support of organisations such as Swansea Harley-Davidson the development of young players at Swansea heading for the Ospreys would not be as assured."
Greg Bassett, dealer principal at the dealership said: "We are pleased to support Swansea rugby club in developing and encouraging young players to step up to the Ospreys. This new sponsorship will allow us to open up a new relationship with the club and its supporter base".
Swansea (from): J. Hamer, Nicky J. Thomas, R. Williams, A. Jenkins, D. Watts, P. Davies, A. Claypole, L. Price, L. Popham, J. Lewis, C. Clement, J. James, J. Cole; N. Smith; A. Mason, S. Otten, P. John, Nicky Thomas, T. Sloane, T. Price, B. Fox, R. Hughes, J. McKenna, R. Dudley-Jones, T. Hughes, S. Pailor.