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
The last five years have been an emotional rollercoaster on and off the pitch for RGC1404. Promotion to the Principality Premiership was the culmination of five years of hard work and investment in North Wales. WRU TV caught up with prop Joe Simpson, who was one of the first intake of WRU North Wales Academy players in 2010.
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening held at Principality Stadium, after leading his side to the title for the first time.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
Wales U20 captain Tom Phillips and performance psychologist Dr Rich Neil explain why spending three days at Monmouth RFC has further strengthened the togetherness of the squad ahead of the #WorldRugbyU20s