Alex Webber will be in action for Pontypridd at the Foster's National Sevens
Pontypridd will be returning to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park with six of last year's winning squad for the second Foster's National Sevens on Sunday (August 24).
Experienced Wales sevens star Rhys Shellard will lead a squad that also includes last season's player of the tournament and fellow sevens international, Alex Webber. Gavin Dacey, Dafydd Lockyer, Simon Humberstone and Lloyd Williams are also returning.
Ponty launch their defence against Cross Keys, the team they beat in the final of the SWALEC Cup and Principality Premiership finals last season and include newcomer Dale Stuckey in their squad. The full back has trained with Wales Sevens before under the watchful eye of Paul John and has headed to Sardis Road from Ynysybwl this summer.
Cross Keys back three Ryan Lee, Elliott Jones and Nathan Trowbridge will be seeking some pay-back against Pontypridd following their defeats in the SWALEC Cup final and Principality Premiership final last season. They are among five players who figured in those two, heart-breaking defeats in May.
New recruit Polo Uhi, who has switched from Championships winners Ebbw Vale, will get a chance to show what he has got to offer, but Keys' secret weapon could be wing James Cordy-Redden, who has played for Crawshay's and GB Students Sevens.
Cordy-Redden was part of the Dragons squad that reached the final of the Aviva Premiership Sevens. Jonny Lewis was also in that squad and also played in the Welsh regional round at the Arms Park.
Round 1 (10.20): Pontypridd v Cross Keys
Pontypridd: Luke Crocker, Rhys Shellard, Gavin Dacey, Dafydd Lockyear, Tom Hetherington, Lewis K Williams, Joel Raikes, Simon Humbertone, Lloyd Williams, Lewis I Williams, Alex Webber, Dale Stuckey
Cross Keys: James Cordy-Redden, Carl Townsend, Polu Uhi, Henry Palmer, Nathan Williams, Ross Pritchard, Elliott Jones, Ryan Lee, Matthew Powell, Kieron Meek, Evan Ash, Nathan Trowbridge
In the second Round 1 game, the two promoted sides from the SWALEC Championship face each other in the shortened form of the game and will be looking to get in some competitive rugby before the start of the Principality Premiership season. There are a number of seasoned sevens players in the Ebbw Vale squad and Kier Hughes and Spencer Cawley both made it into the Wales Sevens development squad on the back of their performances in last year's inaugural tournament so will be looking to impress again.
Round 1 (10.40): Cardiff Met v Ebbw Vale:
Cardiff Met: Seamus Casey, John Dawe, Dom McGeekie, Chris Leversley, Sam Jones, Pierre Tucker, Luke O'Brien, James Beal, Tim Thompson, Barnie Maul, Ryan Spriggs, Aaron Gwyn
Ebbw Vale: Kier Hughes, Daniel Lewis, Josh Jacus, Chris Thomas, Jack Jonathon, Matthew McGovern, Tom James, Wes Cunliffe, Lewis Reece, Craig Duncan, Liam Roberts, Spencer Cawley
Bridgend's challenge will be led by Chris Williams, who played for the Ospreys in the Welsh round of the Premiership sevens three weeks ago. He is joined by sevens expert Andrew Waite in a Ravens squad that aims to be highly competitive.
Swansea will be hoping new recruit Marc Bennett can provide some sevens knowledge and fire-power into their team. The 30-year-old full back, who used to be on the books at Swansea City in his younger days, has a wealth of sevens experience and has also played 15-a-side with Aberavon and Bridgend.
Teenagers Liam Popham and Jedd Evans are included in a squad that also features two players who faced the Ospreys at The Gnoll earlier in the week, scrum half Iwan Mainwring and lock Ed Morris. Andrew Claypole figured in the friendly defeat to Doncaster Knights.
First Round (11.00): Swansea v Bridgend
Bridgend: Andrew Waite, Greg George, David Barry, Owen Howe, Mike Powell, Chris Williams, Zac O'Driscoll, James Dixon, Ryan Evans, Tom Morgan, Rhys Ward Jones, AN Other
Swansea: Wayne Price, Marc Bennett, Scott Maynard, Andrew Claypole, Jedd Evans, Iwan Mainwaring, Chris James, Ollie Young, Liam Popham, Jim Thomas, Ed Morris, Mike Scully
Llanelli will have the Scarlets duo Duane Eager and Johnny Lewis with headlining their challenge when they tackle RGC in the first round.
The two men have had LV= Cup experience with the regional side and Steffan Evans adds further strength to the squad as a Scarlets development and Wales Under 20 player. There are also chances for two highly promising Tenby products, Roy Ozbourne and Jonathan Rogers. Josh Adams is also fresh back from the Junior World Championship in New Zealand, while Torin Myhill is the younger brother of former Wales Under 20 skipper and current Scarlets hooker, Kirby.
Round 1 (11.20): Llanelli v RGC 1404
Llanelli: Torin Myhill, Owain Morgan, Roy Ozbourne, Duane Eager, Jak Evans, Jonathan Rogers, Sam Evans, Johnny Lewis, Richard Thomas, Josh Adams, Gaeth Walters, Steffan Evans
RGC 1404: TBC
Aberavon will be looking for wings John Phillips and Jay Baker to provide pace and power in their bid for a title at the second Foster's National Sevens. Veteran lock Ben Davies has Wales Sevens experience, while back row man Rob Dudley Jones is a Wales Under 20 cap from last season who is on the Ospreys books.
Scrum half Dan Davies is former Wales Under 18 player who has a lot of experience despite his age, while Kristian Corbisiero is a new recruit to the club this season along with Tristan Lewis
Newport will have two members of the side that won the Men of Gwent Sevens title in 2011 in their squad, wing Owen Broad and hooker Dale Rogers.
New outside half Codey Rees, recruited from Llanharan, gets his chance to shine, although another No 10, Matt O'Brien, is also included in the squad along with scrum half Andrew Quick. Hooker Will Evans has joined the club this summer from Moseley, while there is also another hooker in the 12, Evan Whitson, grandson of the former Newport and Wales star Geoff.
First Round (11.40): Aberavon v Newport
Aberavon: John Phillips, Jay Baker, Aaron Grabham, Tristan Lewis, Stef Andrews, Kristian Corbisiero, Dan Davies, Keiron Harris, David Evans, Andrew Gwynne, Rob Dudley-Jones, Ben Davies
Newport: Andrew Brown, Evan Whitson, Codey Rees, Will Evans, Andrew Quick, Matt O'Brien, Owen Broad, Adam Frampton, Julian Mogg, Jon Morris, Jamie Murphy, Dale Rogers
Welsh Students unearthed two players who went on to play for Wales Sevens, Sam Cross and Luke Treharne, and they are hoping to do the same this year, starting with last year's Plate winners Bedwas. Edward Doe won his Blue in Oxford's fourth win in a row over Cambridge at Twickenham last December and Chris Williams led the Oxford Under 21s.
Jacob Unwin (Hartpury College) was in the Filton College side that won the Rosslyn Park Schools title a few years ago, while Rob Stevenson (Durham University) scored the winning try for Sedbergh School at the same tournament last year.
Joe Gatt (Loughborough University) played for Wales Students last season, as did Nottingham University graduate Jake Lloyd, who has just signed for Blackheath. Ryan Brett-Williams (Swansea University) is in the Bedford Blues Academy, while outside half Rhys Morgan (University of South Wales) has just switched from Beddau to Llanharan.
First Round (12.00): Welsh Students v Bedwas
Welsh Students: Jacob Unwin (Hartpury College), Chris Williams (Oxford University), Harry Davies (Plymouth University). Alex Humphrys (Bristol University), Ryan Bret-Williams (Swansea University), Fred Gulliford (Birmingham University), James Phillips (Swansea University), Edward Doe (Oxford University), Joe Gatt (Loughborough University), Rhys Morgan (University of South Wales), Jake Lloyd (Nottingham University), Rob Stevenson (Durham University)
Neath will be coached on the day by the man who captained Wales to their Rugby World Cup Sevens triumph in Dubai in 2009, Lee Beach, following his return to the club after stints at London Welsh and Newport.
Beach will take charge of a new look squad that contains three highly promising summer recruits from Glynneath - scrum half Rhodri Cole, full back Joshua Jones and wing Jonathan Griffiths.
Former Wales Under 18 centre Ryan Evans has just returned from a stint in New Zealand, where he played for Eastern Northern Barbarians in the Southland region, and joins two Under 20 caps in Calum Thomas and Lloyd Phillips.
Carmarthen Quins will be coached by another Rugby World Cup Sevens winner Lee Williams and will have Iolo Evans to provide the pace and sevens pedigree to their side. The north Wales born wing has played for Wales Under 20 and Wales Sevens and should be one of the star performers in Cardiff.
Former Wales Under 20 centre Dion Jones has played for Crawshay's in the GB7s series, while Haydn Pugh is another former Wales Under 20 cap and captain of the Premiership XV that faced Georgia. Chris Banfield played for the Scarlets in the recent Welsh-leg of the Premiership sevens and is a former World Sevens Universities champion.
Round 1 (12.20): Neath v Carmarthen Quins
Neath: Emyr Williams, Callum Thomas, James Locke, Gerwyn Price, Rhodri T Cole, Ryan Evans, Lloyd Phillips, Steffan Stone, Ashley Evans, Gareth Morris, Joshua Jones, Nicholas Clancy
Carmarthen Quins: Iolo Evans, Rhys Williams, Haydn Pugh, Gareth George, Chris Banfield, Dion Jones, Gavin Thomas, Dylan Morgan, Rhodri Clancy, Rory Gallagher, Ellis Lloyd, Morgan Griffiths
Cardiff's bid for glory on their home ground will be led by former Wales Under 20 wing James Loxton, who scored 12 tries for the club last season. He will have full back Ceri Young supporting him in a squad that includes a number of new faces.
Prop Joe Tomlinson has stepped into the senior ranks this season, along with teenage scrum half Will Baird. Former Wales Under 18 lock James Murphy is one of a number of talented forwards in the squad, including back row man George Lee and lock Craig Lodge.
Llandovery will be relying on the seven man squad, led by Matthew Jacobs, that won the Evolution Super6s Touch Rugby title last month when they kick-off against host club Cardiff. Included in that team was former Wales Under 20 and Sevens scrum half Lee Evans.
Teenage half-backs Kieran Hardy and Josh Batcup are given a chance to shine on the big stage, while former Wales Under 18 cap and Scarlets Academy hooker Tom Ball will be looking to promote his cause.
First Round (12.40): Cardiff v Llandovery
Cardiff: Joe Tomlinson, George Lee, Craig Lodge, James Murphy, Morgan Edwards, Bryn Phillips, Iwan Phillips, Rory Harris, Charlie Hall, Ceri Young, James Loxton, AN Other
Llandovery: Tom Ball, Shaun Miles, Richard Brooks, Lee Rees, Mike Evans, Sam Soul, Rhodri Jones, Matthew Jacobs, Richard Williams, Rhys Williams, Josh Batcup, Kieran Hardy
NB all squads subject to change.
Tickets for the whole day are just £10 for adults, £5 for Under 16s and £20 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children). Tickets are available now via www.wru.co.uk/national7s, with a print at home option and by calling 0844 847 1881 (Ticketmaster) or 02920 230130 (Ticketline). On event day (Sunday), tickets are available from the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park ticket office.
In addition to the rugby action, there will be a charity touch rugby match during the lunchtime interval, with Matthew Watkins and Dafydd James captaining the sides in aid of Velindre Cancer Centre.
Supporters with the best beach themed fancy dress outfits will have the chance to be entered into a kicking competition to win tickets for Wales v Australia on November 8.
Foster's National Sevens full First Round draw:
10.20 Pontypridd v Cross Keys
10.40 Cardiff Met v Ebbw Vale
11.00 Bridgend v Swansea
11.20 Llanelli v RGC 1404
11.40 Aberavon v Newport
12.00 Welsh Students v Bedwas
12.20 Neath v Carmarthen
12.40 Cardiff v Llandovery
Gates will open at 9.30 with the Cup final scheduled for 18.40.
Tiger Tiger Cardiff will provide entertainment throughout the day via a DJ Truck, and will host the official After Party, with free entry to Foster's Sevens ticket holders
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.
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