Pontypridd travel to Richmond to face London Scottish
Pontypridd forwards coach Geraint Lewis is wary of the challenge provided by London Scottish as he prepares his side for a British & Irish Cup trip to the English capital.
Lewis saw his side come out 29-20 winners in the home fixture at Sardis Road last Saturday as a red card for Irish flanker Neil Best hindered the English Championship outfit.
With three wins from three matches so far, Pontypridd are the only Pool 2 side with a 100 per cent record and know a victory in Richmond will almost certainly seal a quarter final place.
"London Scottish showed in last Saturday's match how good a side they are" said Lewis.
"They were very competitive and struck back at us to gain a valuable losing bonus point. Travelling to the away fixture will provide us with a huge challenge but one we look forward to.
"We demanded a big reaction from our squad following the home defeat against Cross Keys and we got it. We showed total commitment and put in a big hearted performance to win against the odds.
"Nothing less will do as we play the return leg this coming Saturday. We need to build on our home win, improve, and take the game to London Scottish on their own patch."
Pontypridd's long injury list has another addition, Chris Clayton the latest to run into trouble with shoulder damage.
Influential No. 8 Dan Godfrey has failed a fitness test on a hamstring strain with Lewis making two changes to his side. Aled Summerhill is drafted in on the wing and Chris Phillips takes over from James Howe at loose head prop.
Experienced player-coach Gareth Wyatt comes on to the bench as does flanker Rhys Shellard on his return from Wales Sevens duties in South Africa.
In the other return fixtures to take place on Saturday, Cross Keys face a vital tie with Leinster A at Pandy Park. Keys found the Irish side too hot to handle last weekend but a more positive result tomorrow would see them stay in contention for a quarter final place. The winners of each pool plus the two best runners up progress to the latter stages and a win over the Irish side would see Keys well in contention to do just that.
For tomorrow's encounter, Greg Woods makes minimal changes with No. 8 and Dragons man Ieuan Jones an interesting inclusion in the pack. His fellow Rodney Parade teammate Elliot Dee is also involved but has to settle for a place on the bench.
Elsewhere, both Aberavon and Llanelli face long trips to the north of England. The Wizards face Leeds Carnegie in what will be their third game in a week as they look to bounce back from two heavy defeats to English opposition. Leeds were 41-22 winners at the Talbot Athletic Ground last Saturday before Jason Hyatt's men were demolished 78-0 by Bristol in their rearranged fixture on Wednesday. Catching the two English sides will be a tough ask but Hyatt is boosted by the availability of Wales man Dafydd Howells who starts on the left wing.
Llanelli may have lost two of their three fixtures so far but they remain right in the mix in a hugely competitive Pool 3. Kevin George's side are currently in third place but are just two points behind Rotherham at the summit and face the Titans at Clifton Lane.
Welsh action in the British & Irish Cup tomorrow (Saturday):
Rotherham Titans v Llanelli (KO 2pm)
Leeds Carnegie v Aberavon (KO 2pm)
Cross Keys v Leinster A (KO 3pm)
London Scottish v Pontypridd (KO 3pm)
The WRU's Women and Girls legacy events - #TRY OUR GAME have proved popular this week with current players and newcomers to the game learning new skills and picking up tips from national squad players.
We caught up with Shona and Ellie from the Wales women team ahead of the start of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris next month at a recent women's training session to encourage and promote more women and girls to try their hand at rugby. #tryourgame
We hear from the Wales camps in South Africa and New Zealand, as well as the EGM, in this week's principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. Defence coach Shaun Edwards and forwards coach Robin McBryde look ahead to the Springboks, Angus O'Brien and Mark Taylor look back at heartbreak for Wales Under 20s, while group chief executive Roger Lewis and chairman David Pickering face the Welsh press after being vindicated at the EGM.
Cross Keys flanker Scott Matthews capped off a fine season when he won the last Principality Premiership Player of the Month award before a surprise visit by Alun-Wyn Jones saw him crowned Best Newcomer of the Year.
Pontypridd's dominance in this year's Principality Premiership was reflected in last night's Awards evening held at the Millennium Stadium where Paul John, Geraint Walsh claimed individual awards while Ponty picked up the Fair Play award as well.
WRU TV's Liz Jones has to contend with an enthusiastic PA as she interviews victorious Pontypridd coach Paul John after he guided his side to victory in the Principality Premiership final at Sardis Road.
Cross Keys head to Sardis Road on Sunday showing no fear as they face Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership Play-off Final. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie gets the low-down from both camps before the big game.
Defending Principality Premiership champions Pontypridd are chasing an unprecedented double double this Sunday at Sardis Road when they host Cross Keys who are gunning for revenge after being brushed aside in the SWALEC Cup final.
500 days to go to Rugby World Cup and SWALEC Finals Day on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. WRU chairman David Pickering and First Minister Carwyn Jones look ahead to the Rugby World Cup, while we hear from all three winners on SWALEC Finals Day, Pontypridd's Dafydd Lockyer, Merthyr's Lee Jarvis and Clwb Rygbi Caerdydd's Gareth Williams, as well as former Wales wing Simon Hill on coaching his village team Llantwit Major.
Carmarthen Quins or Cross Keys are just 80 minutes away from taking on Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final - but first they have to win Sunday's semi-final play-off at Carmarthen Park (KO 5.30pm).
Hear from all six clubs at SWALEC Finals Day on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Pontypridd's Dafydd Lockyer, while former coach Dale McIntosh reflects on their British and Irish Cup campaign. Cross Keys backs coach Morgan Stoddart and Wales U20 outside half Angus O'Brien on their challenge. Merthyr's Lee Jarvis and Rhiwbina's Gareth Lintern look at their Plate Final. Clwb Rygby Caerdydd's Owain Tudur and Llantwit Major's Shaun Shea on the Bowl Final. Former Llantwit Youth player Dafydd Hewitt of the Blues also looks forward to the game.
It's crunch time at both ends of the Principality Premiership where Cross Keys and Carmarthen Quins are chasing a home tie in the play-offs while Aberavon and Swansea are attempting to avoid the drop. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie and Will Thomas preview the action.
The Principality Premiership kicks off tomorrow and we begin the new season with an extended podcast where WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to defending champions Pontypridd, newcomers Ebbw Vale, Carmarthen Quins and members of the press.
We celebrate 10 years of the Principality Premiership in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to the building society's group chief executive Graeme Yourston, plus Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins back at the Sardis Road launch. We hear from Geraint Lewis of Pontypridd, Lee Beach of Neath and Duane Goodfield of Ebbw Vale. WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis welcomes a new deal with Mercedes Benz, along with Wales centre Scott Williams.
The 10th Principality Premiership is all set for a big kick off on Saturday, with all involved thoroughly enthused at the prospect of another competitive and entertaining season in the semi-professional game.