Pontypridd RFC’s season is turning not so much into a roller-coaster ride as a gruelling mountain climb, with big games and fresh challenges offering new peaks to conquer more or less on a weekly basis.
Having been pre-occupied lately with their successful British & Irish Cup campaign, Ponty now turn their attention back full focus on the Principality Premiership, with nothing less than a crunch top of the table encounter coming their way.
Neath have in the meantime made the most of two games they previously held in hand, winning both with a bonus point added, and thus leapfrogging Pontypridd to the top of the table with a five point advantage.
The two clubs go head to head at Sardis Road on Thursday evening 10th March, the game kicking off at 7:35pm and screened live on S4C television.
Honours are shared so far this season, with Neath edging a tense league encounter at the Gnoll by 16pts to 13 back in early October, and Ponty taking the verdict in a SWALEC Cup tie at Sardis, by 36pts to 26 just three weeks ago. Both games were physical, full on and full to the brim with tension and excitement – the agenda is set for a showdown decider at the House of Pain on Thursday evening.
With a clean bill of health, but missing their contingent of Wales under 20 internationals, Ponty make six changes, positional and in personnel, from the starting line-up which sneaked a home win against Llanelli in the BIC quarter final last Saturday.
Adam Thomas comes in at full back with Gareth Wyatt switching to the wing, and Garyn Lucas in at scrum half. A new prop duo of Ken Knaggs and Sam Hobbs are introduced, and dynamic flanker Darren Waters in on the blindside. Hooker Huw Dowden makes a recovery form a recent hamstring strain to take a place on the bench.
The Pontypridd team selected to face Neath is as follows:
15.Adam Thomas. 14.Gareth Wyatt. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Owen Williams. 10.Simon Humberstone. 9.Garyn Lucas.
1.Ken Knaggs. 2.Kristian Dacey. 3.Sam Hobbs. 4.Craig Locke. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Darren Waters. 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8.Chris Dicomidis – cpt.
Subs: Kristian Baller; Dean Gunter; Chris Clayton; Huw Dowden; Jake Thomas; Calum Thomas; Ryan Harford.