The run in to a very busy end to the current season gathers pace for Pontypridd as they play hosts to Newport on this evening (KO 7:15pm).
This is a re-scheduled fixture, the original date for the match being the first Saturday of the season back in early September, but the Sardis Road ground at that time being completely flooded. A winter's campaign of ups and downs, highs and lows, and many other postponed matches has followed for Ponty, but the club now looking for a sustained sprint to the finishing line to achieve a top six placing in the Premiership.
Newport are prime candidates for the league crown, currently in third place having enjoyed a successful campaign, including a 35-0 victory over Ponty at Rodney Parade back in November.
Having lost narrowly away at Aberavon last time out, Ponty will seek to bounce back against all odds as they face an in form Newport team, and will have to do so with a number of injuries still affecting the squad.
There will be many late fitness test carried out in the Sardis treatment room before the line up to face Newport can be finalised. The walking wounded include Kristian Baller (ankle), Chris Clayton (abdominal), Matt Hutchings (hand), Lawrence Price (hamstring),Stuart Williams (hamstring), Huw Dowden (shoulder), Rhys Williams (rib), Ryan Savage (thigh) and Geraint Lewis (back), with skipper Nathan Strong due for a well earned rest with a view to the forthcoming congested fixture list.
The provisional Pontypridd line up to face Newport reads as follows: 15.Kristian Baller. 14.Owen Williams. 13.Adam Thomas. 12.Mike Davies. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Gareth McCarthy. 9.Rhys Downes.
1.Sam Hobbs. 2.Leighton Davies. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Grant Harrington. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Rhys Lloyd. 7.Wayne O'Connor. 8.Geraint Lewis.
Subs: To Be Announced
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.