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.
Wales 7s captain Luke Treharne may have only played once on the World Series, but he has full confidence in his side as they prepare for the opening two rounds of this year's series in Dubai and South Africa, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
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.