Newport Rugby have resigned back row man Joe Powell and taken Bristol
Shoguns wing Luke Nabaro on loan for the rest of the season.
Hot on the heels of the decision by Wales A flanker Alix Popham to invoke
a clause in his contract to allow him to leave Rodney parade in December and join Leeds Tykes, Newport have moved to take Powell back from Swansea.
Meanwhile, the Newport coaches Leigh Jones and Richard Hill have made nine
changes to the side that fell to Glasgow last weekend for Friday night's
clash with unbeaten Connacht in the Celtic League.
England Under 21 wing Alex Cadwallader and former Cross Keys lock Matthew
Veater will make their full debuts for the club in Galway. Cadwallader has
recovered from a hamstring strain in order to take his place on the left
wing in place of Andrew Wagstaff as one of four changes behind the scrum.
With Jason Strange ruled out with a groin strain, Shane Howarth moves from
full back to outside half and Matt Pini returns to duty in the No 15
jersey. Scott Williams is named as the centre partner to Andy Marinos.
He takes over from Hal Luscombe, while Wales A centre Jon Pritchard is out
for another two months after fracturing a bone in his right foot during his
comeback game against Glasgow.
In the pack, Rod Snow makes his first start of the season at loose head
prop following the injury sustained by Ceri Jones midway through the first-
half against Glasgow. Jones is likely to be sidelined for up to two months
after breaking his nose and fracturing his cheekbone.
Veater will make his debut in the second row with club captain Simon
Raiwalui as Mike Voyle is given a well deserved rest. There are also
changes in the back row. Alix Popham takes over from Steve Ojomoh on the
blindside and Gareth Gravell gets his first start of the season ahead of
No 8 Andy Powell has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, so either Ojomoh
or Forster will take that position.
"It promises to be a tough trip for us to Connacht. Not only did they beat
us at Rodney Parade last season, but they have won all three games to date
in the Celtic League," said Newport team manager Jim McCreedy.
"Leigh and Richard have been forced to make a number of changes due to
injuries, but we all feel this team can be competitive enough to bring a
first win of the season."
Connacht's match winning full back at Leinster last week, Mark McHugh, will
miss the game against Newport because he is on World Cup duty with Ireland
That means Irish Under 21 cap James Norton will make his debut for Connacht
as the only change to the starting line-up from the team that overcame the
inaugural Celtic League champions in Dublin.
NEWPORT RUGBY: Matt Pini; Matt Mostyn, Andy Marinos, Scott Williams, Alex
Cadwallader; Shane Howarth, Ofisa Tonu'u; Rod Snow, Paul Young, Chris
Anthony, Matthew Veater, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Alix Popham, Gareth
Gravell, Steve Ojomoh/Jason Forster.
Replacements: Adrian Garvey, James Richards, Mike Voyle, Jason
Forster/Steve Ojomoh, Andy Wagstaff, Michael Hook, Llyr Lane.
CONNACHT: James Norton; Ted Robinson, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt (captain),
Wayne Munn; Eric Elwood, Chris Keane; Dan McFarland, Jerry Flannery, Peter
Bracken, Warick Waugh, Rowan Frost, Michael Swift, Colm Rigney, John
Replacements; Ronan McCormack, Marnus Uijs, Eri Peters, John O'Connor,
Shane Moore, Dermot O'Sullivan, Owen Reddan.
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.
Defending champions Coleg Sir Gar reached their second consecutive Millennium Stadium final as they defeated Coleg Gwent in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 play-off. Watch highlights of their narrow 10-8 win here.