Dai Flanagan makes a welcome return for Pontypridd
If a live televised encounter against a table topping team who boast a 100% record in the last Welsh League match at a famous stadium entails a "big game", then Pontypridd have a big game coming up on the weekend.
Llanelli have stormed to the top of the Premiership with an impeccable return of played six, won six, and it is they who will host Pontypridd on Saturday 18th October in a game kicking off at 5:30pm due to live screening on S4C. There have been many epic encounters between the two clubs at Stradey Park, but with the Scarlets regional franchise and Llanelli RFC due to evacuate the stadium at the end of the month, this will be the last.
When all the gloss and the hype and the history is stripped away from the game, it remains a hugely important one for a Pontypridd side seeking a first away win in the league this season.
In the build up to the big clash, Ponty coach Paul John remains objective about his team's aspirations of success. "Going away to face a Llanelli team with a 100% success in the league so far is a difficult task" said John "but from our point of view we have nothing to lose. The pressure will be on Llanelli to keep up that record.
"We need to take our home form with us on the bus from Sardis Road, which we haven't done so far this season. If we play to our potential we can achieve a result, and having won and drawn at Stradey last season, the boys know that they have the ability to succeed".
The latest injury victim in the Ponty camp is winger Chris Clayton, with a suspected minor fracture of the wrist. He joins outside half Gareth McCarthy (hamstring) scrum halves Rhys Downes (knee) and Gavin Morris (blood clot) and prop Sam Hobbs (knee) on the sick list.
Ponty welcome back Blues pair, winger Aled Brew and outside half Dai Flanagan, with Matthew Hutchings slotting in at full back and Kristian Baller continuing at scrum half.
Newly recruited tight head prop Pat Palmer makes his debut for Ponty, with Rhys Williams back in at hooker and Rhys Lloyd at blind side flanker.
Pontypridd: 15.Matt Hutchings. 14.Aled Brew. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Adam Thomas. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Dai Flanagan. 9.Kristian Baller; 1.Stuart Williams. 2.Rhys Williams. 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Grant Harrington. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Rhys Lloyd. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Nathan Strong (capt).
Subs: Lawrence Price; Mike Davies; Andrew Jenkins; Ryan Harford; Huw Dowden; Ryan Savage; Geraint Lewis.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event