Indigo Premiership champions Llandovery play the first of three pre-season friendlies on Saturday when they travel to Cinderford writes Huw S Thomas.
The Forest of Dean side who finished last season in seventh position in England National One – the third tier of English rugby – will be difficult opponents for the Drovers but past results are in Llandovery’s favour.
The two sides have met nine times in pre-season friendlies and the Drovers lead with seven wins and a draw, the only defeat coming in 2014, 15-14 away from home.
The fixture was first played back in 2010 when Llandovery notched up a 21-12 win at the Beavis Memorial Ground, helped by a try from teenage full-back Lee Rees (pictured scoring in last season’s final).
Also on the winning team some 13 years ago were two other teenagers and future Welsh internationals – wing Adam Warren and hooker Sam Parry who came off the bench.
Rees and Warren are both likely to feature on Saturday.
Coach Euros Evans will know what to expect against Cinderford – a big physical pack, solid at the set piece and with powerful ball carriers in the loose, alongside direct, straight running backs.
One of Evans’s star players as coach of Coleg Sir Gar was future Wales and Lions wing Josh Adams and Adams played seven games for Cinderford back in 2016 when on loan from Worcester Warriors.
Previously, Adams had played for Llanelli against Llandovery in 2014 scoring a late try which did not prevent his side losing 28-15 in a British and Irish Cup qualifying game at Church Bank.
Two other fixtures are planned in August, away at Llangennech on the 16th and home to Bridgend Ravens on the 19th, before the Premiership kicks off on September 2nd, away at Carmarthen Quins.