Chris Dicomidis leads Pontypridd out against Leinster tomorrow
Pontypridd skipper Chris Dicomidis is gearing up for one of the biggest challenges his side has faced in the semiprofessional era - a winner takes all encounter against Leinster A in the British & Irish Cup.
To play a fully pro provincial outfit is a tough ask, and we expect them to be fully loaded against us
Dale McIntosh's side go into the game at the Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin on Saturday with the two opposing teams shoulder to shoulder at the head of the group with 15 points apiece. Only one team will progress into the knock out stages of the tournament.
Captain Dicomidis has this week overcome a bruised sternum and is confident of the ability of his squad in rising to the occasion.
"We are all looking forward to what will be a massive challenge" he said.
"We know that Leinster all but demolished us in a corresponding fixture on their patch last year, but we feel that we have a score to settle.
"To play a fully professional provincial outfit is a tough ask, and we expect them to be fully loaded against us, which hopefully will indicate the respect they have for us. That respect is mutual, but we believe they are beatable and if we turn up with our A game then the job can be done."
The Welsh side know a losing bonus point is the bare minimum required from the trip to Ireland. Leinster were convincing winners when the two sides met in the competition last year but a last gasp try from centre Dafydd Lockyer saw Pontypridd win at Sardis Road earlier in the competition.
Lockyer will not have the opportunity to repeat his match winning exploits as he is sidelined with a dead leg. Another absentee will be flanker Rhys Shellard with a jarred neck, an injury suffered in Ponty's last encounter against Neath.
There are no fewer than eight changes made to the team that started the win over Neath leaving Dicomidis in confident mood.
"We just got the better of Leinster in a nip and tuck home leg at Sardis Road back in October and the return tie on Saturday will probably be just as close, just as hard fought," he added.
"If we can repeat the result, as difficult as that may be, it will be a big statement of our intent to challenge and succeed at this level of competition."
Pontypridd: 15 Geraint Walsh 14 Chris Clayton 13 Adam Thomas 12 Gary Williams 11 Owen Williams 10 Dai Flanagan 9 Carl Thomas, 1 Chris Phillips 2 Huw Dowden 3 Keiron Jenkins 4 Cory Hill 5 Chris Dicomidis (c) 6 Ed Siggery 7 Wayne O'Connor 8 Dan Godfrey.
Replacements: Lloyd Williams, Simon Humberstone, Matthew Nuthall, Darran Harris, Craig Locke, Jake Thomas, Bradley Thyer.
The second phase of the Principality Premiership kicked off last week with the introduction of two tiers. In this week's podcast Aberavon No 8 Chris Davies tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie he's had to change his game while Cross Keys head coach Greg Woods says his side still have plenty to aim for.
Women in the Ospreys region recently completed a Level 1 coaching course and are looking forward to putting their theory into practice in clubs and schools across the region. A women only course has been organised for the Scarlets region starting next week, full details at the end of the video.
Bedwas may have surprised a few by finishing the first phase of the Principality Premiership in second spot, but head coach Steve Law is confident his side have enough ability to remain competitive in phase two as they travel to Ebbw Vale to kick off their Tier 1 campaign, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie, hears.
How do you follow a dancing hippopotamus - the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team has just the 'oneness' to do it say the BBC! For a decade the sight of a herd of hippos synchronised swimming around their own private blue lagoon, has lit up our television screens at regular intervals between favourite BBC One shows. But now the nation's most watched channel has relinquished its famous amphibious mammals in favour of a new show-reel which includes the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team.
Treorchy's award-winning secretary Bryan James, Ebbw Vale's Nigel Davies and all four regions on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We look ahead fo Europe with Rob Evans of the Scarlets, Dan Baker of the Ospreys, Ellis Jenkins of the Blues, as well as Nic Cudd and Tom Prydie of the Dragons.
Martyn Phillips has discussed details of the newly published 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby' which puts in black and white terms the plans and direction of the governing body of the national sport in Wales for the next decade.
Nigel Davies is a relieved man after seeing his side secure the last spot for phase two of this season's Principality Premiership with a hard fought victory against Gwent rivals, Cross Keys at Eugene Cross Park on Saturday.
Mathew Nuthall's love affair with major finals at Principality Stadium is on course for a final act after he scored a try in Caerphilly's quarter-final demolition of last season WRU National Bowl runners-up, Taffs Well.
Pontypool beat Llanelli in the last round of the WRU National Cup and the Championship leaders added the scalp of another Principality Premiership side to their collection as they put Cardiff to the sword in the second half to win 43-32 and progress into the last eight.
Carmarthen Quins are holding an exhibition to commemorate club players who fought in World War I. All welcome to the clubhouse on Friday afternoon to learn more about local history, or share any family anecdotes or artifacts.