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 winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.
Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange is proud of his side's effort in against Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final and as WRU TV's Liz Jones finds out, he's now looking forward to Wales' Under 20 campaign with confidence.
The countdown to the Junior World Championships starts in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to WRU U20 coaching co-ordinator Allan Lewis and captain Rory Thornton. We speak to the winning teams at SWALEC Finals Day, Wales Sevens manager Steffan Thomas and Wales women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton.
We hear from JPR Williams, Tommy David and all six clubs in SWALEC Finals Day, as well as the first woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. JPR and David reminisce over the 1979 final, while we hear from Pontypridd, Bridgend, Ystrad Rhondda, Ystradgynlais, Cambrian Welfare and Newcastle Emlyn. Kath Pritchard became the forst Welsh woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium - we speak to her and WRU community referee development officer Paul Adams.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
A look ahead to Judgement Day and back at youth finals day in the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Andrew Coombs, Jake Ball, James Davies, Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi. We also speak to Wattstown, Ystradgynlais, Rhydfelin, Pontypool United, Penallta and Pontypridd youth coaches at finals day at the Millennium Stadium.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
WRU National Academy Coaching manager Allan Lewis will retire, a new Elite Coach Development Manager post has been created and WRU international skills coach Jason Strange will now fulfil his WRU role on a full time basis.
Wales U20 bounce back in the World Rugby Championships in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from forwards coach Geraint Lewis and captain Ollie Griffiths, plus new WRU head of physical performance Paul Stridgeon. We talk new facilities in Usk and hear the plans of new Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson.
The Crawshay's WRU President's XV returned from a gruelling two-match tour of Georgia undefeated after a try by Llandovery's Shaun Miles in the last move of the game ensured a 14-9 victory over Emerging Georgia at Rustavi Stadium on Saturday.
Developing the game in Wales and creating a stable and progressive environment for players of the future
Taking the grass roots game out across the length and breadth of the nation, the SWALEC Leagues are the focus of the community rugby in Wales
SSE SWALEC Cup
The SSE SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl continue the legacy of the WRU Challenge Cup, culminating in a shot at glory at the Millennium Stadium
Women's Community Rugby embraces both the regional and community club game from Girls' Leagues through to the Women's Premier Division