NEWPORT v CARDIFF (Tonight, KO 7.15)
JUST as Newport Gwent Dragons go in search of revenge against Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day, it’s a similar tale ahead of tonight’s battle between two of the regions’ feeder clubs at Rodney Parade.
Once one of the undisputed highlights of the Welsh domestic scene, the Newport v Cardiff derby doesn’t quite have the same glamour of old.
But even in the new order of post-regional days, it still counts to beat your nearest rival and there should be a healthy crowd in the city this evening should the game survive the elements.
There is an extra spice as the Black and Ambers look to avenge a 62-17 hiding at Cardiff Arms Park in September – a record defeat to Blue and Blacks.
Newport felt aggrieved that day the Welsh capital side selected rather more regional players than is considered sporting.
To add insult to injury during that hefty setback, Black and Ambers captain and tighthead prop Gethin Robinson tore his bicep and missed nearly three months as a result.
He has had some valuable game time under his belt this months with appearances against Newcastle in both British and Irish cup games.
His presence will be a big boost for the hosts who have the services of Newport Gwent Dragons prop Tim Ryan again this week, up-and-coming front row forward Alex Jeffries, just 17, away on a Wales Under-18s training camp.
The bad news is that they will be without scrum half Andrew Quick who tore knee ligaments during last weekend’s record 93-0 defeat at Newcastle.
On the plus side, Ross Coombs is close to making his return, the back rower out since injuring his knee in the win over Neath last month.