There will be action in the Premier Division and in all 18 Lloyds TSB
divisions this weekend as Welsh rugby begins what for most clubs will be a
The Premier Division will have seven matches on Saturday, but the Bedwas
-Llanelli match will not be played until Sunday (2.30pm).
Two games stand out as Neath entertain Swansea at the Gnoll in the West,
while in the East there will be a clash between Pontypridd and Cardiff at
the Arms Park. There will also be a first appearance in this division for
last season's Division One winners Llanharan, who meet Newbridge at the
Pontypridd appear to have a large squad, but picked up several nasty
injuries last week in a friendly match, including a cut eye to their new
skipper, centre Paul Matthews. Cardiff will rely heavily on the boot of fly
half Chris Anderson, a former Youth player at the Arms Park, who has been
released by Neath.
Neath appear to be favourites for the title, skippered by full back Gareth
Morris and coached by Rowland Phillips, but Swansea will certainly be
looking to repeat last season's result and flanker Gareth Jones will be
their new captain.
Holders Newport are glad to have Daniel Griffiths continuing at fly half,
but have lost several players and they face a Gwent derby at home to
Pontypool. Cross Keys sit out the first round of fixtures, but Ebbw Vale
face a hard task away to Carmarthen Quins and Llandovery will also find it
tough at Aberavon, who have accepted the resignation of their director of
rugby, Chris O'Callaghan.
Bridgend are coached for the first time by former international lock Chris
Stephens and they are at the Brewery Field against Caerphilly, who have
Mark Ring back in charge.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.