Lloyd Phillips is confident his Llandovery side have what it takes to reach the quarter-finals
After just one round of Principality Premiership fixtures so far in 2013, all 12 sides turn their attentions to the British & Irish Cup over the next fortnight.
We've had a superb season so far, one that's surpassed our expectations really and the British & Irish Cup is an added bonus
Pontypridd and Llandovery go into the final two rounds of fixtures with a place in the quarter finals firmly within their grasp. The Sardis Road club face a difficult trip to take on Leinster on Saturday while the Drovers face Melrose.
Dale McIntosh's side know that with just the top club from each pool going through to the quarter finals, a losing bonus point is the bare minimum required from the trip to Ireland. At the same time, a win over Saturday's opponents is far from out of the question with the two sides level at the top of Pool 5 with 15 points apiece.
A late try from Dafydd Lockyer secured a narrow 25-23 win for Ponty over Leinster at Sardis Road earlier in the competition but team manager Richard Langmead knows from experience how tough the match in Ireland is going to be.
"It's going to be a tough game. They beat us quite convincingly out there last year but we have to take confidence from our win at home, we're very much looking forward to it," he said.
"It's a competition we take very seriously and it's great to pit yourselves against fully professional sides, we relish that challenge."
That challenge could see Pontypridd without two of their key players though Langmead is hopeful they will be available for selection.
"We have got injury worries over Dafydd Lockyer and captain Chris Dicomidis but hopefully they'll pull through," he added.
"The boys will take confidence from the way we played against Neath at home and take that into the trip to Leinster."
Meanwhile, Llandovery know wins over Melrose and Nottingham in the next two weeks would definitely see them progress to the quarter finals.
The Drovers are in pole position in Pool 5, three points clear of second placed Doncaster. They welcome bottom club Melrose to Church Bank on Saturday and captain Lloyd Phillips knows his team cannot afford to lose.
"We've had a superb season so far, one that's surpassed our expectations really and the British & Irish Cup is an added bonus," he said.
"We're targeting the game with Melrose as a must win for us and then hopefully we can go to Nottingham and hold on to top the pool.
"They'll provide a tough challenge, it was a close game when we played them away so we'll try and grind them down in the first half and then hopefully pull clear."
After a superb start to their Premiership season, Phillips knows a cup quarter final would be another huge positive.
"It would be a massive achievement," he added.
"It shows where we are in terms of our progression and hopefully it can become reality."
In the remaining games taking place this weekend, there are four all Welsh derbies which look sure to provide plenty of intrigue.
At the Arms Park, Cardiff take on Bridgend in what will be the fourth meeting between the two sides already this season. The Ravens were 25-7 winners over the Blue and Blacks at the Brewery Field earlier in the competition, Jamie Murphy kicking 20 points.
At Bridge Field, both Premiership leaders Bedwas and opponents Neath look set to give a number of their younger players the chance to impress. The Welsh All Blacks are looking to bounce back from an away defeat to Pontypridd last weekend and head coach Pat Horgan is looking to the future with his team selection.
"We'll have a young element for the next couple of games but we want to blood these youngsters and look to the future," he said.
"We want to give some of our younger players the chance to play in the British & Irish Cup and hopefully they'll show us what they can do.
"I don't know what Bedwas have planned but it doesn't affect us. For us, it's about improving our performance from last Saturday."
The other two all Welsh encounters see Cross Keys travel to Rodney Parade for a Gwent derby clash with Newport while Swansea and Carmarthen Quins meet at St Helens.
In Pool 6, Llanelli go into their final two games six points behind leaders Moseley and know they must win their remaining two games to stand any chance of progressing to the quarter finals. Anthony Buchanan's side face a long trip north to take on Scottish side Gala ahead of a home tie with Moseley the following week.
Bottom club Aberavon face a hugely difficult tie with Munster at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
School and college pupils from school club hubs across the Blues region were invited to the WRU National Centre of Excellence this week to complete the Level 1 Referee course. Nigel Owens was one of the tutors and more courses of this kind will be run around Wales to cater for the demand, to increase the number of qualified referees available to officiate school and club rugby, and to find potential future referees of the senior game.
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
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