Pontypridd will have little time to dwell on a disappointing away defeat at Ebbw Vale last weekend, as they go head on into traditionally one of their biggest games of the season, a home league clash against old rivals Cardiff.
Throughout all the tinkering to the structure of Welsh rugby, Pontypridd v Cardiff remains as one of the tribal rivalries that has transcended all change, and now has an even sharper edge to it as the two clubs vie against each other as regional bed-fellows.
Ponty have been focussing this week on the psychology of the game, as well as their usual physical preparations, in attempting to get over the Ebbw defeat, and build up to a clash against a Cardiff squad that has immense strength in depth.
The latest injury victim for Pontypridd is scrum half Gavin Morris who has been admitted to hospital with a blood clot on the lung. The thoughts of everybody at the club are with him in wishing him a speedy recovery. Also absent are prop Stuart Williams, just returned from holiday, and flanker Geraint Lewis, given time off to be with his partner who is expecting a baby.
Centre Gavin Dacey returns from injury to resume in the Ponty midfield, where Gareth McCarthy will start as outside half. Chris Clayton is called back to the wing, with Aled Brew continuing on the opposite wing on loan from the Blues senior squad. In the pack, Chris Dicomidis is moved to the back row, with Grant Harrington returning at lock. Young hooker Rhys Williams has been called up to the bench with the senior Blues team against Connacht on Friday evening, his commitment to Pontypridd on the following day dependant on his involvement in that game.
Pontypridd 15 .Lawrence Price. 14.Aled Brew. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Adam Thomas. 11.Chris Clayton. 10.Gareth McCarthy. 9.Andrew Jenkins. 1.Ian Poley. 2.Leighton Davies. 3.Sam Hobbs. 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Grant Harrington. 6.Chris Dicomidis. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Nathan Strong - cpt. Replacements: Dai Flanagan; Kristian Baller; Owen Cotton; Ryan Harford; Rhys Williams; Chris Martenko; Kristian Dacey.
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.