Pontypridd RFC will play host to Bristol Rugby at Sardis Road on Saturday 23d April in the semi final round of the British & Irish Cup, the tie kicking off at 2:30pm.
This cross border encounter against fully professional English Championship opposition will provide a massive challenge for Ponty, with the incentive to progress to the tournament final and in the knowledge that victory will secure a home draw in that match.
The stakes have not been higher for Ponty since they reached the final of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup in 2002, then a fully professional outfit contesting against top English sides such as London Irish and Sale.
For a new generation of Pontypridd players, it is the here and now that matters, with an opportunity to make a huge statement for the club, for the commuinty and for the Welsh Premiership on the big stage.
Ponty go into the BIC semi final off the back of a hard fought away win at Llandovery in the Premiership midweek, a result that guaranteed them top finish in the table and progression to the Play-Off Final title decider.
A physical encounter against the Drovers did not produce any more injury problems, but already sidelined are hooker Kristian Dacey (shoulder), flanker Jake Thomas (shoulder) and no8 and club captain Chris Dicomidis (ankle ligaments). Another absentee from the big occasion will be Ponty senior coach Dale McIntosh, away with the Wales under 18s squad.
Top try scorer Owen Williams returns to the wing and senior Blues scrum half Rhys Downes also called into the side. Three current Wales under 20 internationals are given their opportunity amongst the pack, in no8 Owen Sheppeard, flanker Ed Siggery and lock Cory Hill.
15.Gareth Wyatt – cpt. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Adam Thomas. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Owen Williams. 10.Simon Humberstone. 9.Rhys Downes.
1.Ken Knaggs. 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Cory Hill. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Ed Siggery. 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8.Owen Sheppeard.
Subs: Lewis Jones; Dean Gunter; Gavin Dacey; Tom Hetherington; Craig Locke; Darren Waters; Stuart Williams.
In the event of a draw in the BIC semi final, extra time will be played in accordance with tournament regulations.
If at the end of extra time the scores are still level, the winner will be the team that has scored the most tries.
If this fails to produce a winner, the away team will be deemed the winner and will proceed to the final.
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