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.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series