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 7s captain Luke Treharne may have only played once on the World Series, but he has full confidence in his side as they prepare for the opening two rounds of this year's series in Dubai and South Africa, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
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.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.