Pontypridd head coach Dale McIntosh will take his squad to Cross Keys on Saturday for the opening game of a new season, knowing that his club's status as defending Premiership champions will be put to the test from the first whistle.
There is a consensus that there will be no easy games for Ponty this season as they set about defending the Premiership crown, but a first engagement away to Welsh Cup holders Cross Keys is as tough as any.
"Expectations are high at the club going into a new campaign," said McIntosh "and those expectations will be put to the test at Pandy Park on Saturday. This will be a difficult encounter to kick start the season."
Having guided his squad through their pre-season preparations McIntosh remains objective about the importance of the first competitive game.
"Leagues are not won and lost on the first weekend of a season and whatever the outcome on Saturday, win or lose we won't dwell on the result and will move on.
"Our aim without a doubt is to go to Cross Keys and secure a win. If we can take our A Game with us then Keys will have to play very well to beat us. We have worked hard over the summer, we have trained well and strengthened our squad. Cross Keys likewise have recruited well and will take confidence from their cup final win over us back in May.
"It promises to be a great game to launch the new season, one for the players and supporters to relish."
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