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.
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.