This will be the start of a difficult run of games for Pontypridd during the month of October, one which will provide an acid test of their aspirations for league and cup success this season. Games away to Neath and Tonmawr in the league, and away to Llandovery in the British & Irish Cup, followed by a home league tie against old rivals Cardiff, could be described as Ponty's 'autumn test series'.
Facing up to reigning Premiership champions Neath, Pontypridd welcome back a number of players from injury and regional duties to boost their hopes.
Outside half Simon Humberstone has shaken off a shoulder problem and winger Chris Clayton makes a return ahead of schedule from a long term hip injury, both to feature on the bench.
Scrum half Kristian Baller returns to club duties having been involved with the Blues senior squad this week. Irish prop Ken Knaggs is drafted in at loose head prop, withDarren Waters and Wayne O'Connor forming a potent flanker partnership each side of skipper Chris Dicomidis.
Neath head coach Patrick Horgan is anticipating a cracking encounter. "Pontypridd have won 6 out of 6 so far against Glamorgan Wanderers (twice), Cross Keys, Carmarthen Quins, Pontypool and at Aberavon. They are obviously the team of the moment but that is the challenge for our boys," he said.
"I was very pleased with the effort we produced at Tonmawr last Saturday where the home side were determined to eradicate any lingering memories from their heavy defeat at Llanelli.
"Neath and Pontypridd have a great affinity, huge respect for each other and we have played out some terrific tussles over the years. We are also the two best-supported sides in the Premiership so there should be a good crowd and a real big-match atmosphere at The Gnoll."
Pontypridd 15.Adam Thomas. 14.Gareth Wyatt. 13.Dafydd Lockyer. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Kristian Baller; 1.Ken Knaggs. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Sam Hobbs. 4.Craig Locke. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Darren Waters. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Chris Dicomidis (Capt)
Replacements: Garyn Lucas; Simon Humberstone; Chris Clayton; Tom Hetherington; Ed Siggery; Brendan Lyons; Stuart Williams.
Neath G.King, A.Bramwell, S.Thomas, L.Ford, C.Morgans; J.Thomas, T.James; N.Downs, A.James, R.Davies; E.Evans, N.Bonner-Evans; G.Gravell (captain), A.Powell, E.Ugozigwe
Replacements: G.McCarthy, D.Langdon, A.V.Lott, A.Littlehales, P.Sidoli, L.Evans, A.Whitney