Captain - Gareth Morris. Head Coach - Rowland Phillips.
Last season: Runners-up.
NEWPORT took the title last season, but many of that squad have left, though fly half and leading scorer Daniel Griffiths remains after a short spell in France. Ricky Williams from Llandovery is an exciting signing at full back and Under-19 caps James Ireland (Cross Keys) and Stephen Ireland (Cardiff) are the among the signings by new coach Dai Rees, who is a former Newport player. Matthew Veater will lead the side from lock with Rhys Jones an important player at No 8 and Gareth Chapman returns in the centre after a spell at Cross Keys.
Captain - Matthew Veater. Head Coach - Dai Rees.
Last season - Winners.
CARDIFF will be hoping that their young squad have learnt much from last season's campaign and they will be boosted by the return of former Youth fly half Chris Anderson after spells with Llanharan and Neath. Geraint Morris from Celtic Warriors and Rob Appleyard from the Blues are likely to boost the pack and wing Chris Czekaj could be an exciting prospect on the wing.
Captain - not selected. Coaches - Mike Rayer and Howard Stone.
Last season - 12th.
ABERAVON have brought in former Wales internationals evin Hopkins and Mark Jones as back and forward coaches respectively and hope for yet another good season in terms of results. Skipper Chris Gittins has moved to Neath and both Ceri Thomas and Howard Merrett in the pack have long-term injuries, but hooker Chris Wells will reinforce an already outstanding front row and Jones will boost the lock position when his suspension ends in October. At fly half, leading scorer Jamie Davies will be joined by Liam Gadd (Maesteg) and James Hook (Bristol), though the latter is recovering from a shoulder operation.
Captain - not selected. Coaches - Chris O'Callaghan (head), Kevin Hopkins and Mark Jones. Last season - 4th.
PONTYPRIDD should be right up with the early leaders as they can call on veterans Dale McIntosh and Paul Jones to boost a young, but experienced squad. Darren Berry from UWIC and Chris Clayton from Treorchy & Wales und-19s are among several pacy wingers, while there are numerous options at half back and in most forward positions with Wayne O'Connor and Grant Harrington as regular contenders and the exciting Ryan Shellard returning from Abercynon on the flank. Captain - not selected. Coaches - Steele Lewis and Simon King. Last season - 3rd.
CROSS KEYS have lost several players to Newport but in return have gained young props in Ian George and Gary Horrigan with hooker Peter Maxwell in after a spell in Brisbane. Despite playing or Caerphilly in last season's up final, flanker Tyron Morris will again the lead the club and his former Ebbw Vale teammates Will Thomas and Rhys Williams are availble in the back row. Former scrum half Nicky Lloyd will join forces with ex-lock Rob Beale as coaches and have brought in threequarters Gareth Turner and Neil McKim from nearby Newbridge.
Captain - Tyron Morris. Coaches - Nicky Lloyd & Rob Beale.
Last season - 8th.
CARMARTHEN QUINS have lost their fine half back pair of Giles Thomas and Steve Wake with the former retiring through pressure of work in the fire service and the latter, also a fireman, switching to lower-grade rugby. Ian Jones comes back intro the coaching network and the club have made good signings in the flying Bonymaen centre James Davies and the Carmarthen Athletic scrum half Ricky Richards. Prop Ben Grace takes over as captain but will still have former international Paul Arnold, last season's skipper, at lock.
Captain - Ben Grace. Coach - Ian Jones. Assts - Craig Bonnell & Anthony
Last season - 5th.
LLANHARAN come in for their first-ever Premier season, coached by the wily Dennis John and with all of last season's squad that won Division One, with the notable exception of No 8 Colin Malone, who has retired. Gareth Edwards will again skipper the side and will probably be seen more in the prop position rather than lock, while Wayne Jervis has returned from Ireland and will have Marc Davies, the highest-ever scorer in a league season and Mark Roper, the Lloyds TSB Player of the Year also in the back division.
Captain - Gareth Edwards. Coach - Dennis John. Asst - John Phelps.
Last season - Division One winners.
SWANSEA promised well at times last but their coaches will not have been satisfied with their position, bolstered by the boot of fly half Luke Richards. They have talent aplenty with the former Wales under-21 skipper Matthew Brayley at centre and with players such as Richie Rees, Gareth Swales and Chris Stamatakis in their backs. What these runners need is swift and good ball and flanker Gareth Jones will be attempting to provide this in his first season as captain.
Captain - Gareth Jones. Coaches - Tony Clement & Keith Colclough.
Last season: 6th.
BRIDGEND switch to lock Mike Powell as captain, though Brendan Roach will remain the link between backs and forwards with a lot of young talent available, including full back Neil Dixon and wing Grant Epton from Maesteg. The pack is boosted by the return from Caerphilly of prop Lee Manning and the presence of New Zealander Corey Harris at open-side flanker.
Captain - Mike Powell. Head Coach - Chris Stephens. Assts - Paul Williams
& Richard Webster.
Last season - 7th.
BEDWAS worked hard to gain a foothold in the Premier Division last season and they owed a lot to firm, but unobtrusive coaching pair of Steve Law and Ian Gardner. Always best when being the underdogs, they wrecked the run of several sides higher in the table, none moreso than Newport. In Nathan Hill and Stefan Sankala they possess deadly finishers on the wings and Rob Sweeney could be a good signing from the Ospreys at fly half. Captain - Nathan Jones. Coaches - Steve Law & Ian Gardner. Last season - 9th.
CAERPHILLY have Mark Ring back as head coach, though the club achieved a good league placing and runners-up in the Konica Minolta Cup without him last season. He has the talented, though unrelated, Thomases - Stuart and Justin - in the backs and two good young breakawy forwards from England in Stuart Whitcombe and Andy Edwards along with Wales under-19 cap Justin Benfield. They can be counted on to play attractive rugby.
Captain - Andrew Williams. Coach - Mark Ring. Asst - Paul Yardley. Last season - 10th.
PONTYPOOL will struggle on without a clubhouse and with a largely untried squad, but a great terrier in skipper Cae Trayhern and a fine coach in former hooker Steve Jones. Gavin Lucas provides experience in the back row and the kicking of Jonathan Williams and the running of youthful fly half Sam Mills will provide a base that Jones will build on.
Captain - Cae Trayhern. Coach - Steve Jones. Assts - Nigel Callard &
Last season - 11th.
NEWBRIDGE will be led for the first time by lock Michael Peard, who has had to shake off niggling injuries. The former Rumney man will have at least seven of his old club with him, though last season's leader Damian Cooper has retired and the big switch could come at fly half as Ross watts may switch to centre to allow Jonathan Williams a move from wing.
Captain - Mike Peard. Coaches - Mike Watkins & Jonathan Westwood.
Last season - 13th.
LLANDOVERY have lost talented backs Neil Clapham and Ricky Williams and new skipper Ceri Davies may miss the opening games. They will however have the UWIC half backs Gareth Morgan and Iwan Mainwaring on board and Slovenian international Luka Plesko does not return home until Christmas.
Captain - Ceri Davies. Coach - Iestyn Thomas. Asst - Chris Webber.
Last season - 15th.
LLANELLI have pace behind but they may lack enough ball-winning skill up front. Last season they flattered to deceive and came very close to staying bottom of the table. Flanker Ioan Cunningham has taken over as leader and the skilful Neil Boobyer has returned from Pontypridd to help coach the side. Centre Mark Bowen is an asset from Llangennech and Jonathan Rimmer, the Scotland Under-21 cap, has returned to Wales after being with Melrose.
Captain - Ioan Cunningham. Dir of Coaching - Kevin Williams.
Coaches - Neil Boobyer & Scott Quinnell.
Last season - 14th.
EBBW VALE struggled on a small squad last season, but have brought Andrew Bevan and Jonathan Hawker back and produced good signings in Chris Thomas and James Rowles. Young lock Robert Mordecai and flanker Michael Scudamore will push for permanent roles and much will depend on the halfbacks with coach Byron Hayward having struggled against injury last season. Threequarter Kristian Owen gets the task of leadership for the first time.
Captain - Kristian Owen. Coaches - Byron Hayward Craig Bonnell.
Last season - 16th (last).