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.
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.