The second half of the Indigo Group Premiership season starts in the same way as the first this weekend, with Cardiff RFC taking on Pontypridd.
This Saturday’s game will be hosted at Sardis Road after a dramatic season opener at Cardiff Arms Park saw the Blue and Blacks take the spoils when Joe Scrivens kicked an 80th minute conversion to nab a 24-23 victory.
That was Cardiff’s second win in a row over Pontypridd at the Arms Park, but the record is very different up the A470 with the Valleys side having won 11 straight games over the capital club, a record Steve Law’s men are very keen to break.
The Blue and Blacks have all the form coming into this weekend’s game, looking to finish 2019 with the winning streak in-tact with every match won in all competitions so far this season, resulting in a lead at the top of the Premiership of 15 points.
Pontypridd meanwhile have had an up-and-down season so far, not being able to string together more than two wins in a row as a lot of teams in the chasing pack behind Cardiff continue to take points off each other, but they’re still fifth and only five points behind second as the race for runner-up continues.
Director of Rugby Justin Burnell has made three changes to his starting XV that beat Llanelli last week with two coming up front. Rob Jones replaces Nathan Huish at hooker and Kristian Parker is in for Sean Moore at lock.
In the backs Dafydd Lockyer is ruled out so Dale Stuckey starts on the wing with Garyn Smith moving to inside centre and Mason Grady switching to outside centre.
There are also three new faces on the bench with Rhydian Jenkins covering hooker, Sion Parry covering the back row and Morgan Richards covering the outside backs.
Pontypridd: Ben Jones, Alex Webber, Mason Grady, Garyn Smith, Dale Stuckey, Diggy Bird, Jamie Hill; Huw Owen, Rob Jones, Morgan Bosanko, Kristian Parker, James Murphy, Lloyd Evans, Morgan Sieniawski, Alun Lawrence
Replacements: Rhydian Jenkins, Curtis Reynolds, Ben Warren, Callun James, Sion Parry, Morgan Richards, Corey Sheppard, Joel Raikes
Cardiff RFC, meanwhile, make six changes to the team that won away at Llandovery last week, with Steve Law having to navigate an injury crisis at tighthead that sees Matthew Petit start having continued to come out of retirement, while Louis Jones covers him from the bench on permit from Newport.
Elsewhere Thomas Davies and Evan Yardley complete the front row, Macauley Cook drops down from Cardiff Blues to start at second row and James Thomas returns to blindside flanker with Alex Everett switching back across to the openside.
In the backs there is just the one change as James Beal returns to the wing after being rested last week, while on the bench further Cardiff Blues players Teddy Williams, Lewis Jones and Ioan Davies are utilised.
Cardiff RFC: Edd Howley, James Beal, Leon Andrews, Max Llewellyn, Teri Gee, Gareth Thompson, Tom Habberfield; Thomas Davies, Evan Yardley, Matthew Petit, Sam Pailor, Macauley Cook, James Thomas, Alex Everett, Morgan Allen (c)
Replacements: Iestyn Harris, Brynley Toms, Louis Jones, Teddy Williams, Zach O’Driscoll, Lewis Jones, Joe Scrivens, Ioan Davies
It will no doubt be a full-blooded Pontypridd v Cardiff Christmas affair at Sardis Road on Saturday, with the home side keen to win their biggest game of the year and the visitors looking to break the losing streak up the A470.
The Blue and Blacks will actually be the favourites for this one but it’s never an easy game up there and Steve Law’s men will need to be on top form to come away with the win.