Pontypridd resume their Principality Premiership league campaign this evening with a re-arranged away fixture at Cross Keys (KO 7:30pm).
A long period of enforced inactivity due to the severe winter weather came to a close for Ponty with a high scoring home cup win over Felinfoel on Saturday. That game proved to be a good exercise in running off the effects of an extended lay off. The season will move up a gear now as Ponty get back to league duties at the difficult venue of Pandy Park.
Pontypridd make a number of changes from the line up that ran out clear winners against Felinfoel, some due to regional and international call ups, some due to squad rotation.
Drafted to train with the Blues senior squad this week are outside half Dai Flanagan, prop Sam Hobbs, hooker Huw Dowden and lock Chris Dicomidis. Centre Aaron Bramwell has departed to New Zealand with the Wales Sevens squad.
Sidelined through injury is lock Grant Harrington, with an abdominal strain, whilst flanker Rhys Lloyd is working away.
Centre Gavin Dacey makes a return following a five week disciplinary ban, with hooker Rhys Williams available from Blues duties and prop Stuart Williams back from injury, the latter two taking their places on the bench. Also featuring amongst the replacements is back five forward Craig Locke, drafted in on permit from Mountain Ash.
Pontypridd: 15.Matthew Nuthall. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Adam Thomas. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Rhys Downes; 1.Lewis Smout. 2.Tom Hetherington. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.McCauley Cook. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Wayne O'Connor. 7.Darren Waters. 8.Nathan Strong - cpt.
Subs: Kristian Baller; Matthew Hutchings; Gary Williams; Rhys Williams; Chris Martenko; Stuart Williams; Craig Locke
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.