Match Preview – Pontypridd v Merthyr
On Saturday 23rd September Pontypridd RFC welcome Valley rivals Merthyr RFC to Sardis Road in the Welsh Premiership Cup. The first-round knock-out tie kicks off at 2:30pm and it’s an all-pay match for supporters.
This season the Welsh Cup again consists of teams solely from the Premiership but reverts to its traditional format of straight knock-out rounds – no group stage, no second chances for the defeated teams.
Pontypridd have won their last two meetings in the Welsh Cup at Sardis Road against Merthyr. On Saturday 2nd October 2021 Ponty beat the Ironmen 21-14 and prior to that, on Saturday 26th March 2016 edged the Ironmen 6-5 in a match played in extremely difficult conditions.
Ponty will be looking to notch up their first win of the 2023/24 season in front of an expected large crowd this Saturday.
The Team News…
Despite the team only being three matches into the new season the squad have been hit hard by a growing injury list, particularly amongst the forwards. There have been four personnel changes to the starting XV from our last outing, and some positional switches in the pack.
In the backline Ryan Wilkins returns at 12 after coming off the bench to score last week, and Harvey Nash and Josh Phillips are recalled to start in the half-backs.
In the forwards Mitch Barnard is drafted in for his first start of the season at lock which allows Macauley Cook to move to blindside flanker, and Kris Parker to move to openside flanker.
On the bench there are recalls to the matchday squad for Rob Jones and Ceri Morris and a potential Ponty debut for prop Kian Mattravers. Kian played for Pontypridd during the team’s pre-season matches and is on permit from Llantwit Fardre RFC.
Joining Niko Matawalu, Cally James, Sion Parry and James Murphy in the treatment room are Aled Ward, Cai James, Tom Devine and Will Keep.
The Pontypridd team selected to play Merthyr is as follows:
15. Liam Lloyd. 14. McCauley Rowley. 13. Garyn Smith. 12. Ryan Wilkins. 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Josh Phillips. 9. Harvey Nash.
1. Ben Stephens. 2. Curtis Greenslade. 3. Tom Harper. 4. Mitch Barnard. 5. Chris Dicomidis. 6. Macauley Cook. 7. Kristian Parker (c). 8. Joe Miles.
Subs: 16. Gavin Parry. 17. Kian Mattravers. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Will Gregory. 20. Rob Jones. 21. Joel Raikes. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Ceri Morris
Tickets – As has already been mentioned this week’s match is an all-pay fixture and season tickets won’t be valid. Admission on the day will be £12 full, £10 concession access-all-areas and under 16’s free if accompanied by a paying adult. You can purchase tickets on the day or to save time can use our online e-Ticket system, link – Welsh Cup – Pontypridd v Merthyr – The club has increased the range of tickets now available to cover small groups (2 people) and large groups (4 people). We are also have a family ticket for our Youth and Mini & Junior sections.
Club Shop – To purchase your Ponty RFC merchandise, the Club Shop will be open for one hour both before and after Saturday’s match.
Live Sport – The Clubhouse will be open from midday and there’ll be live coverage of three matches from the 2023 Rugby World Cup on throughout the afternoon and into the evening – Georgia v Portugal (1:00pm kick-off), England v Chile (4:45pm kick-off) and South Africa v Ireland (8:00pm kick-off).
The first Valleys Derby of 2023 is upon us, we’ll see you Saturday Ponty Fans!