THE busloads of Abergavenny and Oakdale supporters that will descend on Principality Stadium tomorrow are in for a tense afternoon if the tussle at the top of Division Three East A is anything to go by.

The Gwent rivals will put their promotion bids on the backburner this weekend when they head to the capital to battle for the WRU National Bowl (kick-off 1pm).

In league rugby it's one victory apiece in their meetings, Abergavenny edging a 13-7 win in October before Oakdale returned the favour 27-0 in January.

Both teams have had tremendous campaigns that have barely featured that horrible losing feeling, although they have had to dig deep in Division Three and the Bowl.

Oakdale currently top the table with their loss at Abergavenny their solitary disappointment, and knockout rugby hasn't been an unwelcome distraction.

Their bid for the Bowl started back in September with a win against Llandaff followed by successes against Machen, Swansea Uplands, Abercrave, St Albans and Aberaeron to set up a semi-final with Bridgend Sports.

A 20-15 triumph at Taffs Well earned the Rhymney Valley club a date at the ground where just six weeks ago Wales were celebrating a Grand Slam.

"We got to the semi-final a few seasons ago and know how it feels to be so close but miss out," said captain Keir Ennis.

"To take that extra step and get to the stadium is a dream come true and it's going to be a massive day for the village.

"The support has been immense throughout and as players we are so appreciative of the fans. It's going to be a proud day for us all."

Oakdale have run in 83 tries in their 17 league fixtures but Ennis hopes it will be their graft without the ball that makes the difference.

"We like to play an expansive game and hopefully we can wear Abergavenny down," said the flanker. "We are not the biggest team but we pride ourselves on our defence.

"The results in the league don't matter - this is a new game and winner-takes-all."

If the game goes to the wire then it’s fair to assume that an influential back row forward in the Abergavenny ranks will be blowing.

Former Wales international Nathan Thomas was tempted out of retirement by the club after he joined their coaching team.

The 43-year-old played the full 80 minutes in the tense 25-23 victory over Nantgaredig in the semi-finals, scoring a try and then setting up the last-gasp winner.

Abergavenny have made it to Cardiff with victories against New Panteg, Fairwater (after extra time), Treharris, Llanhilleth and Penygraig, with Thomas braced for a sore Monday when he reports for duty as head of rugby at Llandovery College.

Nine-times capped Thomas, who won the Heineken Cup with Bath, said: "Hopefully I’ve got enough left in the tank for one last big performance! I got drafted back in and have really enjoyed it with a bunch of guys that play for the town, the badge and each other.

"I’ve got lots of niggles and injuries but part of the fun is waking up and feeling that you have done something for your teammates.

"I struggled for the full week after playing 80 minutes Nantgaredig, so hopefully things go well for us and I don't have to do that!"

"The message for the boys is to not leave anything out on that field. If we give our all then we can look ourselves in the mirror after the game, then we've won whatever the score is."

The Bowl clash is the first of three finals. Bonymaen face Brecon in the Plate before Merthyr, aiming for a double-double, lock horns with Cardiff in the Cup.