Pontypridd round off their qualifying games in Pool D of the British & Irish Cup with a home tie against Birmingham & Solihull this evening (KO 7:30pm).
This encounter will be the third in succession for Ponty against English Championship opposition, having already gained creditable wins at home against Rotherham Titans and away against Doncaster Knights. Also being the second of three games to be played within the space of eight days, the demands on the Pontypridd squad are high.
A win against the Bees will secure outright qualification for Pontypridd from their pool with a 100% record and ensuring a home draw in the quarter final stage of the competition.
With a need to rest players, and with the eight players selected for the Wales Under 20s squad unavailable, changes are inevitably made from the line up which took a bonus point win from the visit to Doncaster last Saturday.
Amongst the players given an opportunity to prove themselves in a tough challenge against the Bees are wing Chris Clayton, outside half Dean Gunter, scrum half Garyn Lucas, props Chris Phillips and Ryan Harford, hooker Huw Dowden and flankers Jake Thomas and Wayne O'Connor - all introduced in a raft of squad rotation. A shortage of second row cover sees an A.N. Other provisionally named on the bench.
Pontypridd 15.Gareth Wyatt. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Owen Williams. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Garyn Lucas; 1.Chris Phillips. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Craig Locke. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Jake Thomas. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Chris Dicomidis (capt).
Replacements: Kristian Baller; Simon Humberstone; Matthew Nuthall; Ken Knaggs; Tom Hetherington; A.N. Other; Darren Waters
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.