The Principality Premiership serves its purposes not only as a thriving nursery for young Welsh talent but also as a stage for the traditional big names of Welsh rugby to do battle.
That combination of looking to the future but with solid foundations in the past is a potent one. Such will be the case this coming Saturday as two of the great clubs of Wales go head to head, Pontypridd taking on Pontypool at Sardis Road (KO 2:30pm).
Ponty have got off to a fine start to the new season, winning five on the run and currently occupying pole position in the table. Pooler are holding their own mid table with two home wins and one narrow away defeat to their credit. The two clubs' preparations for this showdown could hardly be any more different. This will be Pontypridd's third fixture within eight days whilst Pontypool have enjoyed a two week lay off from action.
Keeping their squad fresh for another tough battle in the offing, the Ponty coaches continue with a policy of squad rotation, and again make ten changes from the starting line up that achieved a twelve try home rout against the Wanderers last time out.
With Owen Williams injured, Matthew Nuthall returns on the wing and Adam Thomas slotting in at full back. An input of five Blues players sees Sam Hobbs in at prop, Cory Hill at lock and Calum Thomas at flanker, whilst hooker Rhys Williams and outside half Lewis K Williams have their first involvement on the bench.
Pontypridd 15.Adam Thomas. 14.Gareth Wyatt. 13.Dafydd Lockyer. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Mathew Nuthall. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Garyn Lucas; 1.Sam Hobbs. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Cory Hill. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Ed Siggery. 7.Calum Thomas. 8.Chris Dicomidis - cpt.
Subs: Rhys Williams; Stuart Williams; Wayne O'Connor; Darren Waters; Kristian Baller; Lewis K Williams; David Gratton.
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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.
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