Bridgend know a win over Aberavon would see them reach the British & Irish Cup pool stages
Eight Principality Premiership clubs will compete for just four places in the pool stages of this year's British & Irish Cup in games which take place on Saturday.
This year's tournament will see four Welsh clubs, one from each region, compete in the cross-border contest with participation based on the result of two weekends of regional play-offs.
With Aberavon, Bridgend, Llanelli and Cross Keys winners in the first round of fixtures last weekend, the matches for the second round have now been decided. The winners from each of these four ties will make it through to the pool stages.
At the Talbot Athletic Ground, Aberavon will take on Bridgend after both secured wins last weekend. The Ravens defied an almost non-existent amount of ball to claim a last minute 17-15 win over Neath at The Gnoll last Friday.
Ben Rose's side were trailing 15-10 with just seconds remaining but when the home side were reduced to 14 men, they took advantage. Skipper Ashley James plunged over after some sustained forward pressure and when James Dixon converted, it meant the Ravens were through to the next round of play-offs. They will meet Aberavon, the Wizards having home advantage following their victory over Swansea.
At Sardis Road, defending Principality Premiership champions Pontypridd will host Cardiff to determine the representative from the Blues region while there looks sure to be a feisty local derby between Bedwas and Cross Keys at the Bridge Field.
Keys were comfortable winners over Newport at Pandy Park last Saturday but will have to travel to take on Bedwas who finished fourth in last season's Principality Premiership, earning a home tie as a result.
The final play-off match is an intriguing meeting between the sides who finished second and third in last year's Principality Premiership. Llanelli travel to Church Bank to take on regional rivals Llandovery, a repeat of last season's play-off semi-final. Llanelli were 29-20 winners that day with Anthony Buchanan's side hoping for a similar result to make sure of a place in the competition proper.
British & Irish Cup fixtures: (Saturday, September 7.) All kick-offs 2.30pm.
Aberavon vs Bridgend
Pontypridd vs Cardiff
Llandovery vs Llanelli
Bedwas vs Cross Keys
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'.
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