SWALEC Cup Preview – Pontypridd must quickly recover from a shock 3-6 midweek league defeat at Carmarthen Quins if they want to make progress beyond round three of the SWALEC Cup with a home victory over Neath. Although Ponty still top the table, Neath have a game in hand and are now only one point behind the Sardis Road men, and after beating them 16-13 earlier in the season at the Gnoll the Welsh All Blacks will fancy their chances of reaching the last eight with a cup victory.
Last year’s beaten finalists Carmarthen Quins travel to Church Bank to face Llandovery who are also struggling with their league form. Both sides defeated Division One outfits to reach this stage and they have yet to meet each other in the league but the Drovers will be hoping that home advantage will be enough to see them through.
Tonmawr completed a superb 31-8 round two success over cup-kings Llanelli and are rewarded with a visit from Pontypool. The Whitworth Ground will be buzzing as the home threequarters look to stretch the Pooler defence and win a place in the quarter finals.
Swansea face a Bedwas side they have already beaten 48-21 at home this season, scoring seven tries. Consolation for the visitors comes with a narrow 29-25 victory at Bridge Field but with only one defeat at home to date, the All Whites should take their place in the last eight.
Glamorgan Wanderers are in poor form in the league but cup success could just turn their season around. They play host to One East side Merthyr and home advantage may just be enough.
Cardiff are home to Bridgend, now a One West side, bringing back memories of greater days when the Blue and Blacks beat them in the 1981 and 1982 finals. The Ravens are on course for a return to the top flight as they lead their division by a massive 14 points and are unbeaten to date, so Cardiff will have to be on top form to avoid a major upset.
Waunarlwydd from One West entertain Aberavon and will do well to keep the Wizards at bay, while Blackwood of One East make the short trip to Rodney Parade for their first match in the tournament after receiving byes in rounds one and two.
SWALEC Cup Round Three
Cardiff v Bridgend
Glamorgan Wanderers v Merthyr
Llandovery v Carmarthen Quins
Newport v Blackwood
Pontypridd v Neath
Swansea v Bedwas
Tonmawr v Pontypool
Waunarlwydd v Aberavon
If Caernarfon, leaders of One North, are going to make progress to the quarter-finals of the SWALEC Plate they must do it the hard way by making the long trip to Gwent to beat a Risca side mid-table in Three East. Ruthin, the only other One North club left in this competition, will host Aberdare of Three South East and will fancy that home advantage could pay dividends.
Two West leaders Ammanford meet Kidwelly at the Recreation Ground confident that their league form will see them into the quarter-finals, while unbeaten Mountain Ash travel to Tondu of Two West for what could be a tight encounter.
Tylorstown of Two East have home advantage over Skewen of Two West while Pontypool United who are enjoying a good season in Three East, travel across country to face Aberystwyth of Two West.
In the final ties Gorseinon meet Penallta at their Welfare Ground and Newport HSOB entertain Glynneath.
SWALEC Plate Round Four
Aberystwyth v Pontypool Utd
Ammanford v Kidwelly
Gorseinon v Penallta
Newport HSOB v Glynneath
Risca v Caernarfon
Ruthin v Aberdare
Tondu v Mountain Ash
Tylorstown v Skewen
Cardiff Medicals are the only club outside the league structure left in the SWALEC Bowl competition. They will do well to keep their interest alive as they make a daunting trip to Hafodyrynys who are unbeaten in Six South East.
Four West side Amman United will be looking to reproduce the cup form that gave them a 45-10 victory over Burry Port in the last round. They entertain fellow Four West outfit Tenby United and having already beaten them 17-12 this season will be confident of making further progress.
Senghenydd top Four East and will be confident of overcoming a challenge from Blaenavon who are mid-table in the same division, while Maesteg Quins face a tricky tie at home to Llanybydder.
Vardre make the long trip to Llanidloes, Monmouth play host to COBRA of Two North, Rhiwbina travel to Porth and Tonyrefail entertain last year’s beaten finalists,Trebanos
SWALEC Bowl Round Five
Amman United v Tenby United
Hafodyrynys v Cardiff Medicals
Llanidloes v Vardre
Maesteg Quins v Llanybydder
Monmouth v COBRA
Porth v Rhiwbina
Senghenydd v Blaenavon
Tonyrefail v Trebanos
The SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl quarter-final draw will be made at the Millennium Stadium on Tuesday afternoon (February 22)