Cross Keys v Pontypridd Team News & Preview
By David Glastonbury | 05/01/2018
Cross Keys welcome Pontypridd to Pandy Park this Saturday afternoon in a 1st Round clash in the WRU National Cup.
The 2 sides are certainly no strangers to each other when it comes to Cup clashes in recent seasons. The most recent clash came last season when Keys and Ponty went head to head in the Semi-Final at the Talbot Athletic Ground when Keys almost pulled off a remarkable comeback after a pulsating period of rugby which ultimately saw them come up short as Keys went down to a 42 points to 37 defeat against Ponty, who had led by 39 points to 16 going into the final 10 minutes. Tries for Ponty in that victory came from Mitch Auger, Cameron Lewis, Dafi Davies, Joe Davies and the evergreen Ceri Sweeney, who also kicked 4 conversions and 3 penalties for his side, the third of which effectively ending any hope Keys had of completing their unlikely comeback. For Keys tries came from a pair by Mathew Powell and one each for Rhys Fitzgerald and Joe Goodchild. Josh Prosser added all 4 conversions and a hat-trick of penalties for Keys.
Prior to that cup clash last season the 2 sides also met in the semi-final of the 2014/15 season when another cup classic semi-final saw Ponty progress to the final with victory at the Arms Park where they won by 33 points to 27. There were also 2 cup final clashes before that when Ponty won by 21 points to 8 to lift the cup in the 2013/2014 season but Keys solitary success over Ponty in the cup in recent seasons came when they won the cup by beating Ponty in the final of the 2011/2012 season.
Cross Keys have announced their side to take on Pontypridd this Saturday and with a mixture of Dragons call ups and Wales Under 20 training camps there are a total of 8 changes to the starting lineup that lost at Merthyr in the Principality Premiership last week. Up front the front row is changes completely with Gary Carpenter, who will be making his 50th competitive Keys appearance starting in place of Lewis Smout at loose head whilst Darren Hughes starts for the first time since his return from a bicep injury that has kept him out since the second week of the season. Hughes starts at hooker in place of Will Griffiths with Richard Cornock coming in at tight head to replace new signing Scott Evans. In the back 5, Josh Skinner moves back to the back row to replace Taine Basham, who will make his Dragons debut in their Welsh Derby at Parc y Scarlets on Friday evening. Skinner’s place in the second row is taken by Dan Mock. In the backs James Leadbeater has recovered from the injury he suffered in the British & Irish Cup a few weeks back to start at scrum half. Phil Williams starts in the centre in place of Barney Nightingale who moves to the wing to replace Joe Goodchild. At full back, Leon Andrews who was a late withdrawal last week due to illness comes back in to replace Corey Shephard.
The Cross Keys side in full is:-
15. Leon Andrews
14. Mathew Powell
13. Lewis Barnett
12. Phil Williams
11. Barney Nightingale
10. Josh Prosser
9. James Leadbeater
1. Gary Carpenter
2. Darren Hughes
3. Richard Cornock
4. Tom Lampard
5. Dan Mock
6. Josh Skinner
7. Scott Matthews (c)
8. Adam Powell
Replacements: 16. Rob Jones, 17. Lewis Smout, 18. Corey Hewlett, 19. Liam Davies, 20. Luke Dyckhoff, 21. Corey Shephard, 22. Owain Leonard, 23. Nathan Trowbridge.
Cross Keys v Pontypridd WRU National Cup Round 1
Date: Saturday 6th January 2018
Venue: Pandy Park
Kick Off: 2.30pm