Since their victory over Aberavon at the Millennium Stadium in May 2011 Pontypridd have enjoyed the status of SWALEC Cup champions. The time has now come to defend that cherished title.
Entering the competition in its second round, Ponty have been given as difficult a tie as would be possible – playing away to Premiership rivals and current league leaders Llandovery. The match will be played at the Church Bank Fields on Saturday 28th January, kicking off at 2:30pm.
The Drovers are in fine form and worthy of their placing on top of the premier division. Pontypridd come into the game on the back of two defeats, away to Bridgend in the league and to Leinster A in the British & Irish Cup, and knowing that nothing but a full on performance will do to keep their SWALEC Cup aspirations alive.
The situation is not lost on the squad, as team manager Richard Langmead explained: “We are gearing up for a tough encounter against Llandovery” said Langmead. “They are league leaders which gives an extra edge to a fixture that is always difficult. We never have it easy when we play there, but we have proved in the past, and indeed earlier this season, that we can achieve a result at their ground.
“As reigning cup holders there is nothing that the squad want more than to make it to another big day out at the Millennium Stadium. That journey begins at Llandovery on Saturday.”
Absent from the Ponty squad is latest injury victim, scrum half Rhys Downes who is out with a twisted ankle, joining prop Stuart Williams who has not recovered from a calf strain. Called up for regional duties with the Blues are scrum half Lewis Jones, prop Ryan Harford and lock Cory Hill.
Craig Locke makes a welcome return from long term injury to cover the second row position on the bench, whilst young Gilfach Goch scrum half Josh Hughes is also drafted into the squad.
The Pontypridd team selected to face Llandovery is as follows:
15.Gareth Wyatt. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Simon Humberstone. 9.Garyn Lucas.
1.Chris Phillips. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Chris Dicomidis – cpt. 6.Jake Thomas. 7.Tom Hetherington. 8.Dan Godfrey.
Subs: Josh Hughes; Lewis K Williams; Gary Williams; Darran Harris; Wayne O’Connor; Craig Locke; James Howe.