Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins has led his side to the Welsh/Scottish league championship, a European (Heineken Cup) semi-final and is now on course to do the 'double' this season, but Pontypridd have a double of their own to aim for.
The 'Cup Kings' of Welsh rugby are on target for a second piece of silverware, with a Principality Cup Final date with Ponty at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in their sights.
The valley commandos could achieve an impressive double of their own if they beat the Scarlets and go on to beat Sale Sharks in Europe's PARKER PEN Shield Final the following weekend, but Jenkins believes the pressure is off his side.
"You put so much into a season and, although we reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup, until we beat Cardiff for the Welsh/Scottish league title last week, we had nothing to show for it," said Jenkins.
"But now, to a certain extent the pressure is off, we now know this is not a season without reward. That does not mean we have any less ambition to win the Principality Cup, we just won't be as nervous as we might have been."
Captain Scott Quinnell will lead the team as Jenkins picks from a squad now near to full strength and boosted by the early return of Matt Cardey.
"It is a huge testament to Matt that he is back and playing well after dislocating his ankle. I never thought it would be possible and he has gone beyond the call of human effort to get himself in this position," added Jenkins.
Pontypridd have also selected from a full squad which is good news for coach Lyn Howells who also has a PARKER PEN SHIELD european final to prepare for the following week.
"Ponty have been playing with some flare in recent weeks and their performance against London Irish in the Shield semis was outstanding," said Scott Quinnell.
"But it is something special for us to be going for a double this season, it should be a great occasion and we hope to be playing some good rugby of our own.
"I only hope we can do ourselves justice and put in a performance worthy of what we have acheived already this season."
STAT ATTACK. LLANELLI vs PONTYPRIDD
Llanelli - Won 11 times (1973;74;75;76;85;88;91;92;93;98;2000) Runners-up 4 times. Pontypridd - Winners 1996. Runners-up twice. Previous cup meetings. Llanelli won 8, Pontypridd won 2.
1971-72. Pontypridd 4 LLANELLI 18. (played at Penygraig)
1979-80. Pontypridd 3 LLANELLI 16. (quarter-final).
1980-81. Pontypridd 6 LLANELLI 11.
1988-89. Pontypridd 11 LLANELLI 26.
1990-91. Pontypridd 6 LLANELLI 19.
1991-92. Pontypridd 6 LLANELLI 27. (semi-final at National Grd)
1992-93. LLANELLI 24 Pontypridd 6. (quarter-final)
1994-95. PONTYPRIDD 20 Llanelli 14. (semi-final at Cardiff RFC)
1995-96. PONTYPRIDD 35 Llanelli 17. (semi-final at Bridgend)
1998-99. Pontypridd 17 LLANELLI 22. (quarter-final)
Cup record. Llanelli: won 132, lost 19. Pontypridd: won 78, lost 29. First
meeting of the clubs was on 25th October 1884.
THIS SEASON'S CUP RESULTS.
Round 6 - Saturday, January 19.
Beddau 7 Pontypool 50
Bonymaen 16 Tondu 8
Carmarthen Ath 0 Carmarthen Qns 43
Hirwaun 0 Blackwood 13
Llandovery 15 Ebbw Vale 29
Narberth 27 Merthyr 5
Newbridge 18 Aberystwyth 6
Whitland 9 Aberavon 27
Round 7 - Friday, February 22.
Pontypool 16 Swansea 14 - Saturday, February 23.
Aberavon 16 Cardiff 24
Blackwood 8 Pontypridd 24
Pontypridd - T: N Simpson, G Jones. C: B Davey. P: Davey 4.
Bonymaen 3 Newport 41 (at the Morfa Stadium)
Carmarthen Qns 3 Bridgend 19
Ebbw Vale 20 Neath 10
Narberth 15 Caerphilly 19
Newbridge 5 Llanelli 24
Llanelli - T: G Evans, G Williams, W Proctor. C: G Bowen 3. P: Bowen.
QUARTER-FINALS - Friday, March 29.
Cardiff 20 Newport 14 - Saturday, March 30.
Pontypool 22 Ebbw Vale 27
Llanelli 46 Bridgend 24
Llanelli -T: I Boobyer 2, G Evans, G Bowen, M Jones. C: S Jones 3. P: S Jones 5.
Pontypridd 46 Caerphilly 31
Pontypridd - T: S Parker 2, P John, N Simpson, G Jones. C: B Davey 2, C
Sweeney. P: Davey 5.
SEMI-FINALS - Saturday, April 13. (both at the Millennium Stadium).
Cardiff 25 Pontypridd 31
Pontypridd - T: M Davies. C: B Davey. P: Davey 8.
Ebbw Vale 17 Llanelli 34
Llanelli - T: V Cooper, G Easterby, I Boobyer, M Jones. C: S Jones 4. P:
S Jones 2.
LLANELLI (104 points - 12 tries, 10 cons, 8 pens).
Tries: I Boobyer 3, G Evans 2, M Jones 2, V Cooper 1, G Easterby 1, W
Proctor 1, G Williams 1, G Bowen 1. Cons: S Jones 7, G Bowen 3. Pens: S
Jones 7, G Bowen 1. Points: S Jones 35.
PONTYPRIDD (101 points - 8 tries, 4 cons, 17 pens).
Tries: S Parker 2, G Jones 2, N Simpson 2, P John 1, M Davies 1. Cons: B
Davey 4. Pens: B Davey 17. Points: B Davey 59.
TEAM NEWS Principality Cup Final 2002:
Llanelli v Pontypridd, Millennium Stadium, Saturday 18th May
LLANELLI: Barry Davies; Mark Jones, Matt Cardey, Leigh Davies, Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Martyn Madden, Robin McBryde, John Davies, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, David Hodges, Simon Easterby, Scott Quinnell (Captain)
Replacements: Phil Booth, Marcus Thomas, Luke Gross, Dafydd Jones, Dwayne Peel, Gareth Bowen Neil Boobyer
PONTYPRIDD: Brett Davey; Gareth Wyatt, Sonny Parker, John Bryant, Matthew Nuttall; Ceri Sweeney, Paul John (Captain); Gethin Jenkins, Mefin Davies, Duncan Bell, Brent Cockbain, Robert Sidoli, Nick Kelly, Richard Parks, Michael Owen
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Sven Cronk, Dale McIntosh, Cori Harris, Gareth Baber, Nicky Little, Shaun James
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