[Parker Pen Challenge Cup] Pontypridd will take a five-point advantage into the second leg of their PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP quarter-final against Connacht at Sardis Road on Saturday evening but the job is only half done.
The Welsh Cup holders won a thrilling first leg encounter 35-30 but lost classy centre pairing Sonny Parker and Jonny Bryant to injury in the process.
Connacht coach Steph Nel promises that the Valley Commandoes still have work to do in the battle for a place in the semi-finals.
"It's far from a dead tie, said Nel. We have got everything to play for and we will have the same attitude we had in Athlone to go all out to win the game and let things like points difference and try counts take care of themselves."
"It was four tries apiece in the first leg and I feel we wasted a couple of other scoring opportunities while they capitalised on our mistakes.
"We have got some hard work to do before the second leg at Sardis Road, our scrum must improve and we need to have a bit of a look at our defensive patterns."
"But, considering the same team put 40 points on us three months ago, we have made a massive improvement and the game was there for the taking we certainly did not let ourselves down in any way."
"The Connacht players are a proud bunch of lads and now they must lift one another because it will be anything but easy at Pontypridd."
Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells has to rearrange his backline for the return leg.
Wales international Parker is out for six weeks with a broken forearm, while centre partner Bryant is sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury.
Last weekend, fly-half Ceri Sweeney moved out one to No 12, with youngster Shaun James slotting in at outside centre. Both players acquitted themselves well, with James scoring an excellent try.
"The biggest positive is that we got a result away against one of the Irish provinces," Howells said.
"They caught us a bit by surprise by spreading the ball wide so much. They've not done that against anyone else."
"It took us a little while to adjust to that, but the boys stuck in there and sorted it out."
Howells is understandably disappointed about the injuries to his centres.
"Connacht haven't done Welsh rugby any favours at all," he admitted. "It's very disappointing for both guys."
"Sonny's not in very good humour at the moment, he's out for six weeks which means he'll return just in time for the Six Nations, but with no rugby under his belt."
"But that's what sport is all about, these things happen and we just have to get on with it."
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Ponty ar ben eu digon - pencampwyr dwbwl Cymru. Pwy oedd yn serennu yn y gem fawr yn erbyn Llanelli? Ponty on top of the world - double champions of Welsh rugby. Who starred in the big win over Llanelli?