EBBW Vale boss Greg Woods has given his players a shot at redemption when they return to Premiership action against Carmarthen Quins this afternoon (kick-off 2.30pm).

The Steelmen suffered a humiliating 78-12 WRU National Cup defeat to holders and league leaders Cardiff in the capital last weekend.

Ebbw need to respond on their return to Eugene Cross Park given that they sit third from bottom of the table, just a point above Llanelli and Bridgend who both have a game in hand.

Head coach Woods keeps changes to a minimum to face the Quins, who will head to Ebbw with a powerful pack and well-drilled drive.

Centre Dom Franchi returns and is one of three new faces with wing Ewan Rosser and flanker Rhys Francis also coming into the XV.

Newport have to wait an extra 24 hours to entertain Pontypridd because of the Dragons’ European clash with Castres.

The fourth-placed Black and Ambers are hunting a hat-trick of successes after fine wins against Llandovery and Bridgend, neither of whom managed to cross for a try.

Head coach Ty Morris makes five changes with Luke Crane getting the nod at scrum-half while prop Louis Jones, hooker Brodie Coghlan and Garin Harris start in the front row with Andrew Mann replacing the injured Dan Partridge at lock.

Ebbw Vale (v Carmarthen Q): D Haymond, D Thomas, P King, D Franchi, E Rosser, D Langdon, M Flanagan, L Garrett, J Franchi, R Sevenoaks, L Randall, A Sweet (captain), R Francis, D Rubasniak, L Young. Replacements: M Davies, W Griffiths, D Whiting, M Ayling, D Hill, H Harding, D Babos, E Phillips.

Newport (v Pontypridd): D Richards, E Frewen, H Griffiths, G O’Driscoll, J Morris, M O’Brien, L Crane, L Smout, B Coghlan, G Harris, A Mann, J Bartlett, J Skinner, K Tayler, R Jenkins (captain). Replacements: L Jones, E Whitson, T Piper, G Price, J Reid, G Watkin, L ap Myrddin, R Gardner.

Premiership fixtures: Aberavon v Llanelli, Bridgend v Cardiff, Ebbw Vale v Carmarthen Quins, RGC v Swansea. Tomorrow: Newport v Pontypridd

Free Press Series:

PONTYPOOL beat Cardiff Met comprehensively in the cup in Gwent last weekend, today they attempt to retain their perfect Championship record by beating the students in Cyncoed.

Pooler romped to a 66-21 success to earn a home quarter-final tie against Carmarthen Quins.

The size of that victory was a surprise given the tight tussles with Met in the league and head coach Leighton Jones will have spent the week warning of a reaction.

Leaders Pooler tinker with the XV as they hunt an eighth win on the spin with full-back Clayton Gullis, fly-half Matthew Lewis, scrum-half Owain Leonard, hooker Lewis Ball, prop Scott Evans, flanker Scott Matthews and number eight Ieuan Jones coming in.

Bargoed are in fine form as they hunt down Pooler and moved to within three points of the pace-setters with a 47-3 victory against Ystalyfera last weekend.

They entertain Narberth this afternoon looking to keep the pressure on the champions with three games until the promotion rivals clash at Pontypool Park on December 14.

Bedwas are also in the mix at the top, although they have only played five league fixtures.

Stefan Sankala’s men produced a battling performance in defeat to Premiership champions Merthyr in the cup last weekend, so will aim to pick up where they left off when they travel to strugglers Tata Steel.

Cross Keys were beaten 34-25 by Neath at the Gnoll in round two of the cup last week and have a swift chance for revenge.

They have home advantage at Pandy Park this time around and they are captained by promising lock Harvey Reader.

Pontypool (at Cardiff Met): C Gullis, L Lewis, A Nove, K Meek, J Thomas, M Lewis, O Leonard, S Cochrane, L Ball, S Evans, B Sparks, R Clarke, S Matthews, A Stratton, I Jones. Replacements: A Coundley, C Price, C Gregory, P Lewis, A Quick.

Bedwas (at Tata): J Hallett, A Jones, C Williams, L Bowden, AN Other, D McIntosh, O Keane, T Devine, M Dacey, O Ford, C Hudd, M Bovington, J Richards, J Armitage (captain), D Rogers. Replacements: J Tucker, K Williams, O Jones, R Morgans, B Williams.

Bargoed (v Narberth): J Prosser, D Dyer, J Howells, D Humphries, L Smalley, S Jones, J Leadbeater, K Brown, W Langley, A Gardner-Key, J Locke, L Blacker, C Davies, R Kynes, A Powell. Replacements: H Rees, L Perry, M Thomas, R Buckley, J Lavender.

Cross Keys (v Neath): L O’Brien, L Allwood, A Tetley, C Nicholls, A Upton, K Hill, Z Bartlett, R Cornock, Z Hewlett, J Rogers, H Reader (captain), S Andrews, J Thomas, C Johnsey, S Gibson. Replacements: C Vaughan, O Peddle, C Hague, G Jones, W Cunliffe.

Championship fixtures: Bargoed v Narberth, Beddau v Ystalyfera, Cardiff Met v Pontypool, Cross Keys v Neath, Glamorgan Wanderers v Trebanos, Maesteg Quins v Ystrad Rhondda, Tata Steel v Bedwas