Amid all the Swalec Cup excitement tomorrow afternoon is a Premiership derby match that will decide who finishes highest out of two fierce Gwent rivals.
Tenth-placed Newport head to 12th-placed Pontypool with a five-point advantage over their hosts.
It is the last game of the season for the Black and Ambers, who were drubbed 55-8 by Llanelli on Tuesday, and avoiding defeat will ensure they can't be leapfrogged by their rivals.
But they will also be aiming to avoid another ear-bashing from a coaching team that were livid by the performance at Parc y Scarlets. “It's one last push and the chance to respond to an unacceptable performance at Llanelli,” said head coach Sven Cronk. “It was embarrassing and me, (forwards coach) Dai Gray and (backs coach) Jon Bryant have let them know that. We started well but just folded and the fundamentals of rugby – running hard and tackling – were missing. More commitment is needed because Pontypool are going to play with great intensity. We need to match that and players need to put in big performances because unfortunately some of them have been rewarded with another game when they wouldn't be if we had more options.”
Pooler will host title-chasing Llanelli in their final game of the season but Newport is the scalp that the fans want. With the Welsh Rugby Union planning to cut Pontypool from a revamped 12-team Premiership it could be the last league meeting between the clubs for some time.
Pontypool head into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 25-12 win at Bedwas and will want to build on that performance.
“It was a great derby win and we need to match the commitment and energy that we showed at Bridge Field,” said defence coach Mike Hook. “We really took the game to Bedwas and making another good start will be vital. There’s no bigger motivation than playing Newport with the chance of finishing above them at the end of the season but we will need to stick to our game plan and play in the right areas if we are to do that.”
Newport are boosted by the presence of former captain and ex-Pontypool back row forward Andrew Coombs on their bench.
It will be his first action since undergoing surgery on a ruptured pectoral muscle.
Newport: A Awcock, I Evans, L Plummer, S Williams, E Frewen, R James, J Leadbeater, A Coundley, A Brown (captain), D Pattison, D Rosser, A Frampton, S Waldron, C Townsend, H Stoddart. Replacements: D Rogers, D Morgan, A Jones, A Coombs, G Bowen, N Martin, J Davies.
Pontypool: G Williams, M Woodward, D Robinson, A Davies, R Budina, T Hancock, A Quick, D Barlow, R Prosser, N Blake, R Bowen, D Critchley, T Organ, C Attwell, J Thomas. Replacements: M Thomas, R Owen, H Gustafson, L Davies, J Jeune, I Jones, L Dyckhoff.