A CLASSIC battle of two talented number 10s is anticipated at Rodney Parade tonight, as hosts Newport and visiting Bedwas aim to banish the memories of frustrating defeats last time out.

Principality Premiership East leaders Bedwas were outplayed by second-placed Pontypridd on home soil, succumbing to a 37-15 loss in front of the Bridge Field faithful.

The previous night, the Black and Ambers suffered a 37-22 reverse away to Cardiff, who had also beaten them on the opening weekend of the campaign.

Matt O’Brien wasn’t involved in that setback for Newport but the fly-half returns to head coach Craig Warlow’s starting XV against Bedwas this evening (kick-off 7.30pm).

O’Brien will go head-to-head with the Premiership’s September player of the month Steffan Jones, a man used to the Rodney Parade pitch having previously played on it for the Dragons.

And both Warlow and Bedwas counterpart Ian Gardner have the utmost respect for their opposite number’s pivotal playmaker.

“Bedwas beat us 29-7 earlier in the season and Steffan Jones was great at 10,” said Warlow.

“He has played in a number of different competitions across the country and has brought that experience with him to Bedwas.

“I haven’t seen a great deal of him live but I did see Bedwas play Pontypridd at Sardis Road and was surprised by how far he can kick the ball.

“We played Bedwas a week later and we saw that kicking again – I’m sure he’ll bring that threat tonight.

“They’ve also got a front five who work hard and good centres in Michael Callow and Ross Wardle, and all of the back three can run from anywhere.”

On O’Brien, Gardner added: “Craig Warlow has been trying to develop Newport’s approach, they want to play more of a passing game.

“They have threats everywhere when they play like that and if Matt O’Brien is on his game he can be a real threat.

“He plays in the face of the opposition, right on the gain line, so a lot of what Newport do will come through him.”

He continued: “Chay Smith in the centre is playing well and they’ve got a really combative back row.

“We know we’ll have to be on our money to deal with Newport’s threats – we have been this season until the Pontypridd game.”

Gardner is expected to be without back-rower David McGuigan, fly-half Lewis Evans and wingers Ollie Halford and George Gasson through injury.