Newport welcome back Alan Awcock and Ifan Evans.
Newport : Aaron Coundley, Andrew Brown (capt), Dai Pattison, Adam Frampton, Alex Jones, Sam Waldron, Rhys Jenkins, Hywel StoddartJames Leadbeater, Ryan James, Owen Broad, Scott Williams, Luke Plummer, Alan Awcock Frewen, Jamie Smith
Reps : Sam Parry, Dafydd Morgan, Carl Townsend, Craig Hill, Ifan Evans, Gareth Bowen, Josh Davies
Chris Kirwan, SWA writes:
NEWPORT head coach Sven Cronk believes the spirit shown by his charges is summed up by the gusto with which prop Dai Pattison has switched sides in the scrum. The Black and Ambers may be languishing in 12th but they are one of the form teams in the Premiership with four wins from their last five league fixtures. Last weekend they edged to a hard-earned win against table-topping leaders Neath and they will bid to repeat the trick against title-chasing Pontypridd. Injuries to Trystan Davies and Gethin Robinson mean that loose-head Pattison will line up on the right hand side of the scrum for the third game on the spin. And Cronk, a former prop himself, thinks the 32-year-old is a prime example of Newport’s team spirit.
"It’s been hard playing without a recognised tight-head but Dai was straight over the other side when he was asked without any complaints," said Cronk. "I admire him massively for the way he has approached it because it is a totally different position but Dai has just done what he always does – he digs in deep and works his socks off. He is an experienced front row forward but has had to get on the scrummaging machine and learn fast. I think he is still being straightened out on the massage bed as we speak! He is getting better and better at it but hopefully he won’t have to play there for too long though."
After heading into half-time with a 23-5 lead, Newport had to survive a Neath comeback to earn the four points after 15 unanswered points from the visitors.
Cronk believes the same determination will be needed against a Ponty side eyeing a charge up the table from seventh, a position that is a touch false given the Sardis Road outfit’s games in hand.
"Fair play to the boys, it was a magnificent defensive effort into the wind in the second half and that was all down to desire and wanting to play for each other,” said Cronk. "The same will be needed against Pontypridd because they are a quality team. They look to force you into mistakes and you have to be switched on for 80 mins. But all the pressure will be on them, just as it was on Neath. We’d rather be in that position than at the bottom of the table but that’s the situation we are in and we just have to knuckle down and show we are a good side like we did last week."