Former New Zealand scrum half Ofisa Tonu'u makes his long awaited return to
the Newport side for their Celtic League clash with Glasgow at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).
Tonu'u put his injured knee to the test by playing for 34 minutes in the 21-16 defeat at Pontypridd last weekend and now feels ready to make his first start of the season.
"Ofisa has worked very hard on rehabilitating his knee and maintaining his fitness. It's good to have him back and he is fit and raring to go," said Newport Rugby team manager Jim McCreedy.
"Our injury problems are beginning to ease and it has been good for the morale of the squad to see Ofisa declare himself fully fit, Rod Snow return from international duty with Canada and Ian Gough make himself available for full training.
"Things are definitely moving forward and now all we need is a win to cement
our progress and boost confidence."
Tonu'u is one of four changes from the side that played at Pontypridd. Matt Mostyn is set to return on the right wing ahead of Nathan Palmer, who scored a try on his debut as a late replacement for the Irish international wing, while Paul Young and Chris Anthony start in the front row.
While Newport lead 3-2, with one draw, in the series of league matches against Glasgow, including a double last season, the Scottish side are one of the most improved teams in the Celtic League this season.
Their stunning away win at Cardiff was followed by a home win over champions
Leinster to keep them neck and neck with Bridgend at the top of Pool B.
"Glasgow have obviously prepared well for the season and have made a great start. They were semi-finalists in the Celtic League last year and are aiming even higher this season under their new coach Kiwi Searancke," said McCreedy.
NEWPORT RUGBY: Shane Howarth; Matt Mostyn/Nathan Palmer, Hal Luscombe, Andy Marinos, Andrew Wagstaff; Jason Strange, Ofisa Tonu'u; Ceri Jones, Paul
Young, Chris Anthony, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Mike Voyle, Steve Ojomoh,
Jason Forster, Andrew Powell.
Replacements: Rod Snow, James Richards, Matthew Veater, Alix Popham, Jon
Pritchard, Matt Pini, Dale Burn.
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS WITH GLASGOW
Season Score Tries Res Score Tries Res
1999-00 64-29 (10-5) W
8-8 (1-1) D
2000-01 6-27 (0-4) L
20-28 (2-3) L
2001-02 55-5 (9-1) W
28-26 (3-3) W
P W D L F A Tries
3 2 0 1 125 61 19-10
3 1 1 1 56 62 6-7
6 3 1 2 181 123 25-17
The last five years have been an emotional rollercoaster on and off the pitch for RGC1404. Promotion to the Principality Premiership was the culmination of five years of hard work and investment in North Wales. WRU TV caught up with prop Joe Simpson, who was one of the first intake of WRU North Wales Academy players in 2010.
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.
Wales U20 captain Tom Phillips and performance psychologist Dr Rich Neil explain why spending three days at Monmouth RFC has further strengthened the togetherness of the squad ahead of the #WorldRugbyU20s