Visitors Ponty are wary of the Steelmen’s quality
EBBW VALE v PONTYPRIDD (Today, KO 2.30)
PONTYPRIDD head coach Dale McIntosh has spoken of his great respect for Ebbw Vale ahead of this afternoon’s Swalec Cup quarter-final showdown at Eugene Cross Park.
The former Wales back rower knows his side are in for a tough day when the Premiership’s best side clash with the Swalec Championship’s premier team.
Last year’s Division One East champions the Steel-men will look to go at least one better than last season when they lost their classic semi-final encounter to eventual winners Cross Keys on tries after a 19-19 draw. Keys then beat league champions Ponty 32-19 in the Millennium Stadium final, so both of today’s sides really have their eyes on the prize.
Vale are looking for their first ever Swalec Cup trophy which would create a memorable double, the club within touching distance of romping home and lifting the inaugural Swalec Champion-ship.
Today’s match promises to be a cracker with a bumper crowd expected in the town and one Ponty aren’t taking lightly.
“We are fully aware of the major challenge that Ebbw Vale will provide for us,” said McIntosh. “They are playing exceptionally well, have a strong squad, are well coached and are comfortably the best team in the Championship this season.
“Going to Eugene Cross Park is in many ways a similar experience to coming to Sardis Road.
“There will be passionate support for both teams and a great atmosphere for what will be, to all intents and purposes, a cup final showdown.”
Vale are at near full strength, but centre Dan Dearden misses out with a hamstring injury.
Ebbw Vale: C Simpson, W Cunliffe, P Uhi, A Jones, L Davies, J Lewis, D Jones, R Jones, M Williams, R Sevenoaks, D Hudd (capt), A Sweet, G Williams, R Kynes, S Gibson. Replacements: J Lavender, J Bowen, J Bartlett, R Clark, C Regan, C Thomas, D Haymond, D Ajuwa.
Pontypridd: G Wyatt, O Williams, G Dacey, D Lockyer, M Nuthall, S Humberstone, G James, C Phillips, H Dowden, K Jenkins, C Locke, C Dicomidis (capt), J Thomas, W O’Connor, D Godfrey. Replacements: J Raikes, D Flanagan, G Williams, B Thyer, T Hetherington, E Siggery, S Roberts, S Williams.