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)
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'.
The top three teams of the Principality Premiership put their unbeaten runs on the line this weekend. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespies is joined by South Wales Argus rugby writer Chris Kirwan to discuss the weekend's action
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.
The entire Welsh Rugby Union Rugby Department gathered at the Millennium Stadium earlier this week where WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey looked back on a year where structural and strategic changes have seen significant progress made
Tomorrow will see the first six-point try scored in the northern hemisphere when the Principality Premiership kicks off. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with WRU National match Officials Manager Nigel Whitehouse, and Pontypridd winger Alex Webber as they look ahead to the innovative changes.
The annual Women's club launch was held at the Wales Centre of Excellence where National Women's Head Coach and Programme Lead Rhys Edwards, Competition Secretary Adrian Howell and Cardiff Met player Ffion Jones express eagerness for the new campaign to get under way.
Plenty of award winners in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast.Dragons centre Tyler Morgan wins one of the top awards for up and coming talent with the SportingWales Rising Stars 2015 award. Scarlets and Wales outside half Hannah Jones is one of the runners-up. We also he from community clubs as the season approaches and Principality Premiership unsung hero Ron Taylor of Ebbw Vale.
Actor and Millennium Stadium Tour Guide Gareth Bale has been performing his one-man play about Wales rugby legend Ray Gravell across Wales. He chats to WRU TV before taking his show to the Edinburgh Festival.
After widespread consultation, the WRU has made major changes to its pathway programme for girls rugby with a spring and summer season being introduced with immediate effect in order to respond to a clear demand to play the game.
The Welsh Rugby Union has reiterated its strong stance to players at all levels of the game to ensure they train and compete cleanly for the good of the game following a player suspension for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.