Exiles seeking another Ponty test ahead of Premiership campaign
Justin Burnell has chosen 'The House of Pain' at Sardis Road on Saturday to give his London Welsh players their last chance to stake a claim for a place in the opening Aviva Premiership fixture against Exeter Chiefs.
Principality Premiership and Swalec Cup winners Ponty gave the Exiles a torrid time when they met in the British & Irish Cup last season, when Burnell's side were in the Championship.
Ponty won 29-22 at Sardis Road and then went down 26-23 at the Kassam Stadium. The Welsh side then won the Pool and went all the way to the semi-finals before losing on try count to eventual champions Leinster A in a 22-22 thriller.
"We know how good a team Ponty are. It will be a huge challenge and they'll be out to take our scalp, especially having been promoted, and we're going to have to be on top form," admitted Burnell.
"It's the last chance everyone's got to put a marker down to be in the team against Exeter on the opening weekend. It's also another opportunity to tweak things and try things, and improve on our skills, and to go in to the Premiership season on a high."
Both teams will be looking to strike back after losses last weekend, Pontypridd going down 35-14 at Llandovery and London Welsh 38-24 against Wasps at Adams Park.
Exiles wing Nick Scott, who has twice helped the club gain promotion into the Premiership, can't wait for another match-up with Ponty after last season's B&I Cup classic clashes.
"I'm really looking forward to going back - the atmosphere down there last time was incredible," added Scott.
"They're a good team, especially at home. It will be another game where we can gage where we are at from last week, and really push on to Exeter."
The game kicks-off at 2.30pm on Saturday at Sardis Road.
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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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.