With the run in to the climax of the Principality Premiership campaign now gathering momentum, Pontypridd go head to head against Pontypool at Sardis Road on Saturday 18th April, the game kicking off at 2:30pm.
Pooler are fighting for their lives in the division, and having impressively won their last three matches against Gwent rivals Newport, Cross Keys and Ebbw Vale, are making a good show of things. Still occupying bottom place in the table, but only two points adrift, Pontypool will undoubtedly pose a stiff test for a Ponty side seeking to extend their 100% home record.
A combination of injuries, recovery from injuries, and the resting of players during an intense schedule of games, has seen numerous changes made to the Pontypridd starting line up.
Both outside halves, Gareth McCarthy and Dai Flanagan, are sidelined with hamstring strains, with the versatile Kristian Baller wearing the number 10 shirt, and partnering young Rhys Downes at half back. Adam Thomas slots in at full back, with Gavin Dacey returning at centre following a stint with the Wales Sevens squad.
Flanker Geraint Lewis has pulled up with a groin strain, but Wayne O'Connor making a timely recovery from a bicep injury to take his place in the team. A rotation of the front row sees Stuart Williams and Ryan Harford packing down in the prop positions. Ponty have drafted in young outside half Dean Gunter from Abercynon, a player who has figured in the Blues Academy system, to cover at outside half.
The Pontypridd team selected to face Pontypool is as follows:
15.Adam Thomas. 14.Owen Williams. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Mike Davies. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Kristian Baller. 9.Rhys Downes.
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Rhys Lloyd. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Nathan Strong - cpt.
Subs: Andrew Jenkins; Dean Gunter; Lawrence Price; Leighton Davies; Grant Harrington; Chris Martenko; Pat Palmer.
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.