Black and Ambers ready for Ponty battle
6:18am Saturday 22nd February 2014 in Sport
NEWPORT having six forwards on their bench for their Swalec Cup tie at Pontypridd tells you where today's clash at Sardis Road will be won and lost, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Black and Ambers are underdogs for the rearranged round two tie but they have done pretty well against Ponty in recent years.
If they are to cause an upset, and secure a home quarter-final against Llanelli, then they will need their pack to produce the goods against a formidable home front eight on what will be a heavy pitch.
Ebbw Vale will earn a home quarter-final encounter against Llandovery if they can make it a hat-trick of wins against RGC 1404.
The Steelmen have already done the double over the north Walians in the Championship and have not lost since being edged out by a last-gasp Ponty conversion in the quarters last March.
Cross Keys will make a huge statement of intent in their bid for the Premiership play-offs if they can turn over Llandovery on their own patch.
Fourth-placed Keys are four points behind the third-placed Drovers with a pair of games in hand.
Their bid to claim a crucial win is aided by the presence of Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Steffan Jones in their ranks.
Bedwas are outsiders for the play-offs thanks to an impressive run of six wins from their last seven league games.
If they can stun leaders Carmarthen Quins out west then the teams beneath them the teams above them certainly will be glancing over their shoulders. The Dragons' former Italy international Kris Burton starts at fly-half for Steve Law's men.
Newport (v Pontypridd) : G O'Driscoll, T James, D Robinson, D Franchi, O Broad, M O'Brien, A Quick, D Pattison, D Rogers, G Robinson, Adam Brown, A Frampton, C Attwell (captain), R Jenkins, B Lampitt. Replacements: Andrew Brown, J Greenfield, S Waldron, L Beach, J Leadbeater, L Robling, D Rosser, J Monck.
Ebbw Vale (v RGC1404): D Haymond, W Cunliffe, D James, C Meyer, L Davies, I Smerdon, D Jones, R Jones, M Williams, R Sevenoaks, D Hudd (captain), A Sweet, G Rusby-Davies, R Kynes, C Regan. Bench: From rest of squad.
Cross Keys (v Llandovery): R Lee, E Jones, J Cordy-Redden, P Williams, N Trowbridge, S Jones, R Dyer, R Cornock, D Hughes, C Gould, D Hodge, O Hodge, T Lampard, R Tucker, A Powell (captain). Replacements: A Lott, H Palmer, S Higgins, P Sargent, O Jones, D Jones, K Baller, AN Other.
Bedwas (v Carmarthen Q): S Thomas, R Budina, L Hudd, A Humberstone, G Lewis, K Burton, L Crane, D Preece, R Hutcherson, M Pettit, P Rees, J Thomas, S Grainger (captain), J Sawyer, D Mattravers. Replacements: J Mills, I George, H Wilkes, L Connolly, D Crimmins, R DOwnes, S Williams, H Thomson.