PREVIEW: Blackwood RFC v Carmarthen Quins - Swalec Cup quarter-final
IT’S a massive week for Blackwood RFC as they build up to their Sawlec Cup quarter-final with Carmarthen Quins at Glan-yr-Afon Park on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).
After despatching fellow championship sides Pontypool and Glamorgan Wanderers, Wood will now welcome the West Wales side who sit sixth in the Premiership.
And Director of Rugby, Matthew Back, a Welsh cup final winner as a player, can’t wait for the clash, although he’s under no illusions of how tough a task his side face.
"They have no area where they are particularly weak," said Back, "they are a solid Premiership side."
He’s called in a few favours this week by borrowing video of the Quins in action against local Premiership sides, and knows his Blackwood side will need to be at their best on Saturday.
"I think in attack we still have 20% more to get out there and I think we will need that against Quins because we are going to have to score tries. They are going to test our defence."
But Blackwood have plenty of reasons to be confident.
They are still yet to taste defeat in 2013, have demonstrated a miserly defence and in outside-half Paul Emmannueli must surely have one of the most in form and reliable boots in the competition.
In the last six games, the ex-Nelson RFC 10 has missed just three shots at goal, collecting double figures personally in almost all those outings.
"Fair play to Paul, his kicking has been immaculate," says Back.
"I think we will get in areas to get kickable penalties and we’ve got a lot of confidence Paul will put them over.
"I’ve been delighted with our defence and I think as a side we have really come together in the second half of the season.
"We’re under no illusions, we need them to have an off day and for us to be at our best to win, but let’s put it this way, you would definitely rather have played against the Blackwood of September compared to the Blackwood now if you were Quins."
And he had a rallying cry for supporters.
"I hope there’s a good turn out. It will be a reward for some of our loyal followers who have put up with some substandard performances earlier in the season to have a great day.
"Maybe some of those people who got so excited watching Wales last Saturday might fancy coming," he smiles.