NEWPORT will hope to reap the rewards of home truths when they return to Premiership action at Aberavon tomorrow.

The Black and Ambers have had to wait a long time to respond to their 36-25 WRU National Cup disappointment against Carmarthen Quins at Rodney Parade on September 13.

Newport, who started the season with a bonus-point success at Ebbw Vale, were overpowered up front to fall at the first hurdle in their bid to go one better than 2018, when they lost in the final to Merthyr.

"We had a tough week after losing the cup game to the Quins, there were a few home truths told to be honest," said fly-half Matt O'Brien.

"The forwards were disappointed with the way that we dealt with the driving maul, while the backs coughed up a lot of ball.

"I think that we chased the game too early and went after it after 50 or 60 minutes when we were only one score behind.

"We were disappointed with the performance from 1 to 15, so we have come back in for training and are looking forward to getting back out there."

Aberavon have started the season strongly with a win at Bridgend and home triumph against Swansea.

Last season the spoils were shared after a 13-13 draw at the Talbot Athletic Ground and Newport will hope to show no signs of rustiness following the postponement of their game against the Ravens and the Premiership break for the conclusion of the Celtic Cup.

"Three weeks off is something you probably crave in January and February, not September and October," said O'Brien.

"It's a tough one, because it is difficult to keep focused when you haven't got a game for a month.

"The knock-on effect of the World Cup, PRO14 and Celtic Cup wouldn't really have hit us too badly but a lot of clubs were keen for it with the amount of players they were losing.

"But we have a good run of games now before Christmas – we have set our goals and now that we are out of the cup we have one big focus."

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Ebbw Vale entertain Llandovery with the aim of kick-starting their league campaign.

The Steelmen lost to Newport and Merthyr either side of a home cup success against Narberth, although a late rally in the Gwent derby did at least earn a consolation bonus.

Eugene Cross Park clashes are key to Ebbw's aim of avoiding a relegation dogfight, although they are fully aware of the Drovers' quality.

"I always rate Llandovery as one of the best sides in the Premiership," said head coach Greg Woods. "They are solid up front and have an expansive game with scrum-half Lee Rees vital to that.

"We know that it will be a tough game and we have to make sure that we control the pace, while shoring up our defence is imperative.

"We've had a tough start but competed well at Merthyr – we caused them trouble and the scoreline flattered them.

"With the amount of new boys in our squad we have used this time well to prepare for an important run of games and the boys have really switched on in training this week."

The end of the Celtic Cup means that Dragons prospects will start becoming available to Ebbw with tighthead Chris Coleman (pictured above), lock Max Ayling and wing Ewan Rosser, who all played against the Ospreys Development XV last weekend, set to feature against the Drovers.

The Steelmen's allocation for this season also includes wings Rio Dyer, Joe Goodchild and Deon Smith, full-back/fly-half Carwyn Penny, centre Aneurin Owen, scrum-half Dan Babos, hooker Will Griffiths and flanker Ben Fry.

- The second, and final, Gwent derby in the Premiership has been moved.

Newport will go for a double over Ebbw at Rodney Parade on Friday, January 31 (kick-off 7.30pm).

The original date was on Saturday, December 28, the day before Newport County entertain Leyton Orient in what will be an emotional occasion following the death of Justin Edinburgh.

Fixtures: Aberavon v Newport, Bridgend v Merthyr, Cardiff v Swansea, Carmarthen Quins v Llanelli, Ebbw Vale v Llandovery, RGC v Pontypridd