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.
After a lengthy and successful playing career with the Scarlets, RGC 1404 forwards coach Phil John is rapidly making a name for himself as a coach in north Wales. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears how his fledging career in the hot seat is going and discovers a man on a mission.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.
School club hub officers in schools throughout Wales are enriching lives by helping pupils to engage more with their education, their community and improve their own outlook on life and future prospects by improving confidence and developing skills such as leadership.
Equal access to facilities and resources at St Helen's has seen Swansea Women flourish since being welcomed with open arms last July. Swansea RFC chairman Stephen Hughes and women's captain Siwan Lillicrap are delighted to see rapid progress being made on and off the pitch.
It's back to the Principality Premiership for our top clubs this weekend. This week GTFM's Ioan Dyer takes his Pontypridd hat off - temporarily at least - and looks ahead to the programme with WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie
This week, Wales squad players Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Ken Owens took time out to support Operation Net Safe, a joint initiative by the four Welsh police forces to tackle child sexual abuse. The forces are working with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused, on a campaign called Stop it Now!
Ospreys and Wales duo Rhys Webb and Scott Baldwin return to their home town club Bridgend Ravens as they prepare for life after their rugby playing careers by undertaking their coaching badges at the Principality Premiership outfit.
The Urdd were unveiled as the WRU's national schools sevens partner at Pencoed yesterday. A flagship event for the new partnership will be the Urdd WRU 7s at Pencoed held over three days on April 4, 5, 6.
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.
Wales' 2017 Under Armour Series fixtures against Australia, Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa have been confirmed alongside news of earlier access to tickets and significant price reductions for the Principality Stadium matches.
Aberavon moved to within a point of table-topping Merthyr in Tier 1 of the Principality Premiership to add even further spice to their trip to The Wern this weekend with a 24-21 win at Carmarthen Quins.