THERE are big games for Gwent clubs at both ends of the Principality Premiership today, as all four in action looking to make positive starts to 2019 in the league.

Three of those playing this afternoon – Newport, Bedwas and Bargoed – began the new year with National Cup ties last weekend – Cross Keys had a bye to round two.

While Premiership strugglers Bedwas and Bargoed were able to savour morale-bosting wins at Rhydyfelin and Newcastle Emlyn, Newport fell to RGC 1404 in Cardiff.

They return to the bread and butter of league rugby this weekend, and for the Black and Ambers it’s another day of change as they take on old rivals Cardiff at Rodney Parade.

Head coach Craig Warlow made 11 changes for the cup game a week ago – and it’s 11 again this time around.

Only full-back David Richards, centre Geraint O’Driscoll, second row Dan Partridge and number eight Matthew Reed survive.

In the backs, Ryan James and Matt O’Brien come in at nine and 10, Harri Lang and Elliot Frewen are on the wings, and Chay Smith replaces Haydn Palmer at outside centre.

Up front, Dan Preece, Will Evans and Tom Piper form a new front row, Joe Bartlett partners Partridge behind, and Andrew Mann and Kyle Tayler take the six and seven jerseys.

They face a Cardiff side in a rich vein of form following wins over leaders Merthyr and Pontypridd in December.

Sitting third, Cardiff also edged out Newport 29-27 at the Arms Park when the teams met earlier in the season.

At the bottom of the table, Keys make four changes for today’s trip to bottom club Neath.

Morgan Stoddart’s visitors will be keen to make the most of their hosts’ problems – on and off the field – to claim a much-needed success.

There is one alteration in the pack from the loss to Newport with Joe Thomas replacing Harvey Reader on the openside.

Thomas’ inclusion sees Tom Lampard move back into the second row alongside Scott Andrews, who started the season at the Gnoll.

Dragons academy full-back Carwyn Penny will start a Keys match for the first time and the dependable Leon

Andrews returns from injury to partner Adam Jones, who makes his club debut on permit from Cardiff.

Jones is joined in the backline by Cardiff teammate Llywarch Ap Myrddin, who continues on permit from the Blue and Blacks, and Dragons back Jacob Botica is given the 10 jersey once more.

Meanwhile, Bedwas head west to Llandovery desperate for points in their quest to avoid relegation.

Dragons academy fly-half Evan Lloyd make his Bedwas debut, while Tom Hoppe and Tom Rowlands return after missing last weekend’s cup tie.

Nathan Hudd moves to number eight and takes the captain’s armband, and fit again James Richards starts on the blindside.

New signing from Ebbw Vale Jonathan Davies takes his place on the bench, as does club captain Alun Rees, injured since early November, and Jacob Chilcott.

Meanwhile, Bargoed go to Carmarthen Quins six points adrift of Keys and Bedwas in the drop zone.

All games kick-off at 2.30pm.

Bargoed (at Carmarthen Quins): C Jones; D Dyer, J Howells, D Humphries, A Norton; J Prosser, J Leadbeater; R Morgan (capt), R Buckley, A Gardner-Key, L Blacker, B Morgan, G Rogers, C Davies, A Powell. Reps: M Bancroft, J Purcell, B Nightingale, W Langley, A Coupe, K Bale, G Edmunds, M Kavanagh.

Bedwas (at Llandovery): J Scrivens; J Rees, T Hoppe, A Williams, K Teear-Bourge; E Lloyd, T Rowlands; B Toms, M Dacey, R Hutcherson, G Allen, C Hudd, J Richards, J Armitage, N Hudd (capt). Reps: S Cochrane, A Rees, C Budgen, J Davies, B Hill, L Crane, J Chilcott, L Bowden.

Cross Keys (at Neath): C Penny; L Ap Myrddin, L Andrews, A Jones, W Cunliffe; J Botica, O Leonard; C Hewlett, E Shipp, R Cornock, S Andrews, T Lampard, D Welch (capt), J Thomas, G Price. Reps: W Griffiths, T Hansen, G Carpenter, J Carlin, C Johnsey, D Fidler, R Budina, S Majkic.

Newport (home to Cardiff): D Richards; H Lang, C Smith, G O’Driscoll, E Frewen; M O’Brien, R James; D Preece, W Evans, T Piper, J Bartlett, D Partridge, A Mann, K Tayler, M Reed. Reps: He Palmer, L Smout, G Harris, M Burgess, C Williams, T Lucas, H Simons, Ha Palmer.