NEWPORT captain Rhys Jenkins is back running and in a fitness race to lead the Black and Ambers out at Principality Stadium.

The 27-year-old back row forward has not featured since suffering an ankle against Cross Keys in December, missing the club's stunning run to the WRU National Cup final.

Jenkins has been working diligently with strength and conditioning coach Chris Jones and still has a chance of featuring in Newport's clash against Merthyr in the capital on Sunday, April 29.

The Black and Ambers also hope that prop Garin Harris might be in contention for the final after the removal of the cast on his foot while Dragons prospect and fellow tighthead Chris Coleman, who is chasing a place in the Wales squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship, is nearing a return after shoulder surgery.

Meanwhile, the Newport management team must plan carefully for the Premiership dates before the big day out at the capital with Carmarthen Quins out west tomorrow, then Bargoed at home on Tuesday and Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday.

"I think that we would be in a decent position to challenge at the top if we had a game every weekend but now we have to play certain boys strategically," admitted head coach Craig Warlow.

"But saying that, we had a remarkable result against Swansea when we had almost conceded the game ahead of our semi-final.

"The boys that came in (on permit) were amazing in the last 20 minutes, showing outstanding character and effort to give us a real boost for the semi.

"Now we want to keep the momentum for the final and it's a funny feeling, none of us have been in this position before but I think we are grounded as well as excited."

Sixth-placed Newport will aim to pick up where they left off in the tense 16-12 win over Llandovery in the last four.

The Quins sit second but cannot drop any more points if they are to keep the heat on Merthyr, whose sole loss was to Newport in March.

"We expect them to have a really strong set piece but they also like to play in the wide channels," said Warlow.

"They are second in the table for a reason and will be upset with losing to Bridgend, who are a gnarly side, last week.

"The Quins will expect to win at home but we just have to play our own game."