Warriors QB Max Ayoul. Pic: Tall Boy Images.

South Wales Warriors Venture Into The Unknown As New Season Opens

By Twm Owen

The British American Football season kicks off this weekend with the South Wales Warriors facing an unknown challenge in Somerset. 

The Warriors travel to North Petherton, near Taunton, to face newcomers the Somerset Wyverns who were granted league membership last December following a two year application process. 

The Wyverns start in Division Two West of the Southern Football Conference, the bottom tier of the British American Football Association (BAFA) league, which the Warriors were relegated to after failing to win any of their games in the middle tier in 2017. 

Warriors head coach Geraint Roberts says he doesn’t know what to expect from their hosts on Sunday, April 15 but isn’t taking any notice of the Wyverns’ 33-6 March friendly defeat to the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts who play in the bottom tier’s south division. 

“The Wyverns are a complete unknown to us as Sunday is their first competitive game since joining the league this year,” said Roberts. 

“I don’t take notice of scores from pre-season games as they are generally used to try things that you may not necessarily try in a competitive game. I’m sure Somerset will be a formidable opposition on Sunday, and we look forward to the battle.” 

Roberts has led the Warriors since 2016, when they achieved three wins and a draw in the Premiership, but opted for voluntary relegation at the end of the season as it was felt the club would struggle to be competitive after a number of retirements. 

Despite failing to register a win in 2017 the Warriors proved competitive opponents with a stingy defense but an offence that simply failed to fire on too many occasions. 

The offence was led by quarterbacks Dean Jackson and Frenchman Max Ayoul who alternated under center last season and Roberts said no decision on which QB will get the start on Sunday has been taken as yet. 

“Both bring something different to the team so we will base the selection on our game plan for Sunday.”  

The team has been bolstered by more than 35 new players following an off-season recruitment campaign and last Sunday hosted a training scrimmage, at their Llanharan base, against the Bristol Apache, who won promotion from the third tier last season. 

The Wyverns scrimmaged against divisional rivals The Torbay Trojans ahead of their first league fixture at North Petherton Rugby Club this Sunday, April 15 (2.30pm). 

“We hosted the Bristol Apache in a scrimmage which both teams found worthwhile. After such a long pre-season where you continuously train against your own team mates it was great to see how the guys would perform against unknown opposition,” said Roberts. 

“We’re really excited and can’t wait for the season to start. It’s been a long off-season with a lot of work going on behind the scenes from coaches and committee to prepare the team for the challenges ahead. There’s a good positive vibe throughout the team at the moment, and it’s enjoyable to be around.” 

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