Skipper out of Llanharan trip
PONTYPOOL will look to maintain their 100% start to the season on Saturday without club captain Luke Dyckhoff and influential centre Ashley Norton.
Dyckhoff has not recovered from a dead leg he picked up in last weekend’s 31-24 win over Bridgend Athletic, while Norton is away as part of the Wales sevens set up.
But those disappointments are quelled by the return to the starting line-up of former club captain Jamie Jeune and a potential second debut for returning back Steve Taylor.
Jeune, who has more than 100 Pooler appearances to his name, impressed in last weekend’s stirring second-half fightback after returning to Pooler on permit from Newport, where his former colleague Taylor made a permanent move from this Summer.
“Jamie is Pontypool through and through and he’ll be a real asset going somewhere like Llanharan this weeknd,” head coach Mike Hook said.
“We’ve heard that they’re back to the Llanharan of old and will look to take us on up front. We know it will be a massive battle there so having someone like Jamie will be important.”
The front row is further bolstered by Bedwas prop Dan Preece, who is also on permit and available from the bench.
Other changes to the starting XV from Athletic include Ben Sparks shifting to No.8 with the experienced Tom Organ coming back in at openside, and “TO” will also captain the side.
In the backs, another experienced campaigner in Chris Macey comes in for Norton, while Dragons Academy winger Lewis Hudd will make his Pooler debut on the right wing in place of Chris Lang.
On Dyckhoff’s absence, Hook said: “He’s been really influential in those first two games but the majority of the squad know how to win down at Llanharan after doing it last year so we not what it takes to get a W there.
“We’ve looked at Llanharan and we know we really need to take the game to them. They really took Blackwood on up front last week [where they won 33-16] so it’s a massive battle.
“But we are two from two and probably the more confident side going in. People are looking at us this year and seeing we’re a different side to last year and that I think is going to make people more fired up when they play us, so we know what to expect.”
And on the returning Taylor he said: “Steve always gives 120%. He’s been so committed coming back from injury and he really deserves his chance.”
Pontypool side to face Llanharan:
15.Josh Hurley, 14.Lewis Hudd, 13.Marc Thorley, 12.Chris Macey, 11.Trevor James, 10. Niall Martin, 9. Aaron Quick
1. Jamie Jeune, 2. Ben Parry, 3. Dan Walker, 4. Matt Thomas, 5.Derryn Jones, 6. Jordan Williams, 8.Ben Sparks, 7. Tom Organ (C)
Reps: Dan Preece, Luke Palmer, Elliot Goodman, Sam Mills, Steve Taylor
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