NEWLY-promoTed Abergavenny 1st XV began their fixtures in WRU League 1 East with a difficult away trip to Nelson on Saturday, reports COLIN EVANS.

The visitors began the game strongly, stringing together many phases of play with high tempo which took them to within inches of the Nelson try line.

But having weathered the storm, the hosts then set about showing Abergavenny how to attack from all areas of the field.

All 15 of their players were comfortable with the ball in hand and they demonstrated their skills by passing and offloading with a high tempo and great pace.

And by half-time they had run in three tries and at the interval they had a very convincing 27-3 lead.

Abergavenny began the second half strongly, having several chances to close the deficit, but the organised Nelson defence kept them at bay.

Nelson then grew in confidence and took complete control of the game to the delight of the home supporters, running in five more tries in the second half to extend their score to 56 points.

Abergavenny scored a well taken consolation try towards the end of the game through Rhys Ferguson, which Nathan Williams converted, resulting in a final score-line of 56-10.

The team selected to begin the game were: Connor Davies, Curtis Price, Matt Charles, James Trumper, Will Evans, Aaron Scrimgeour, Harry Judd, Alex Howes, Rhob Connick, Rhys Jones, Ieuan Evans, James Lewis, Nathan Williams, Lloyd Holder, Dayle Price.

On Saturday afternoon (September 9), Abergavenny will be hoping for much better when they welcome Dowlais to Bailey Park for their first home game of the season.

Elsewhere in the same division, Brynmawr (pictured below), began their season with a 33-7 home win over Beddllwynog, while Blaenavon lost out 26-15 at Ynyssddu. The local rivals meet this Saturday with Brynmawr travelling to Blaenavon.

Monmouth also lost out 29-13 at Senghenydd, and Pontypool United were pummelled 57-13 away to Talywain.

Promoted Usk 1st XV suffered a 27-8 home loss to Croesyceiliog in WRU East 2, but Nantyglo were 42-20 winners at Llanhilleth in WRU East 3.

Promoted Crickhowell also fought out a 29-29 draw at Bedwellty in their opening WRU East 4 game

Other fixtures this Saturday include – Talywain v Monmouth, Pontypool United v Ynysddu, Nantyglo v Blaina, Crickhowell v Hafodyrynys.

Meanwhile, all Wales rugby fans will be glued to the screen when the national side launches its World Rugby Cup campiagn in France with a tough pool game against recent England conquerors Fiji on Sunday night (September 10, kick-off 8pm BST).

The match in Bordeaux is live on ITV 1 and ITV 1 HD.

Fiji famously knocked Wales ouit of the World Cup in France 17 years ago.

And after beating England at Twickenham last month, and following a year of turmoil for Wales, it will take a big effort to overcome the Pacific Islanders.

Having arrived in Versailles on Sunday ahead of the tournament, Wales’ players and management attended an event that evening to receive their World Cup caps.

Dan Biggar showed off his French skills to the delight of locals as Wales capped off their welcome with a rousing rendition of Calon Lan.

Speaking in fluent French, the Toulon star said: “Firstly, it’s a big honour for everyone to be here tonight.

“It’s a big honour for every player to play in the World Cup.

“It’s why tonight is really, really special for everyone, so we want to say thank you for everything, and for tonight we are grateful. I think this World Cup will be incredible.

“I’ve told everyone that France is a special place. There are great stadiums, beautiful cities, the people are lovely, very special - for me the French are very similar to the Welsh.”