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Merthyr v Pontypridd – match preview

Pontypridd travel to face Merthyr in a top of the table Premiership East tie on Friday evening 17th November, the match at Y Wern kicking off at 7:15pm.

This valleys derby would have plenty riding on it as two close rivals go head to head, without the added implications of battling for top spot in the league table.

Ponty have hit good form with a run of seven consecutive wins, the first of those in the reverse fixture against Merthyr, by 42pts to 29 at Sardis Road back in mid September. There can be no complacency however as the latest victory was by a fine margin of only two points, by 47pts to 45 at home to Newport.

The Ironmen have themselves found a winning habit, their most recent success coming away against Bedwas by 12pts to 23, to trail Ponty by five points in the league standings.

With full back Lloyd Rowlands  suffering a fractured collar bone, and Geraint Walsh unavailable, there has been a restructuring of the Ponty back line. Winger Matthew Billet is drafted in on permit from Skewen, and centre Bradley Coombes from Beddau. Lock Josh Hawkins make a return from injury and into the starting line-up.

The Pontypridd team selected to face Merthyr is as follows:

15.Gary Williams. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Ceri Sweeney. 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Matthew Billet. 10.Diggy Bird. 9.Wayne Evans.

1.Chris Phillips. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Jon Elley. 4.Josh Hawkins. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Sean Moore. 7.Rhys Shellard. 8.Morgan Sieniawski.

Subs: 16.Joel Raikes. 17.Jordan Rees. 18.Bradley Coombes. 19.Joe Page. 20.Ross Morgan. 21.Shay Smallman. 22.Huw Owen. 23.Joe Popple.