The season takes a change of tack for Pontypridd RFC as they resume their British & Irish Cup campaign with a long haul journey up to Rotherham. The match against the Titans will be played on Saturday 13thFebruary, kicking off at 2pm.
Ponty will in reality seek not to resume but to commence afresh a cup campaign that did not get off to the best of starts. Back in a wet and windy November, Ponty's home BIC tie against Cardiff was moved down to their opponents' ground, where they duly lost, and the subsequent home tie against Doncaster Knights then postponed.
According to team manager Richard Langmead, the British & Irish Cup still means a lot to the club, and is a target trophy for the season.
"Make no mistake we are going up to Rotherham with the aim of winning" said Langmead. "Played one lost one was not the best way to kick off the tournament, but other results since have meant that the group is still open and that we can still progress. It will be a tough task to get a result at Rotherham, but the squad will make the trip confident of putting up a good fight".
Injuries to centre Adam Thomas (knee), outside half Matthew Hutchings (ankle) and lock Chris Martenko (back) have further depleted the Ponty squad, with centre Gavin Dacey also absent, having been called up to the Wales Sevens party.
A relocation of resources sees Kristian Baller revert to full back and Matthew Nuthall to the centre. Lock Grant Harrington and wing Owen Williams make a welcome return from injury to cover on the bench. Also drafted in is scrum half Lloyd Peart on permit from Beddau.
The Pontypridd team selected to face Rotherham Titans is as follows:
15.Kristian Baller. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Matthew Nuthall. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Gavin Morris.
1.Lewis Smout. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Rhys Lloyd. 7.Darren Waters. 8.Nathan Strong - cpt.
Subs: Lloyd Peart; Lee Thorne; Owen Williams; Grant Harrington; Matthew Rees; Tom Hetherington; Ken Knaggs.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.