NEWPORT and Ebbw Vale will be keen to make home advantage count when they host leaders Cardiff and strugglers Swansea respectively in the Premiership today.

The Black and Ambers are boosted by the return to the pack of skipper Rhys Jenkins, while fellow back-rower Josh Skinner is back after missing the defeat to Llanelli last time out.

Dan Preece comes into the front row on the openside and Matt Dwyer starts the Rodney Parade showdown (kick-off 2.30pm) at hooker.

Newport head coach Ty Morris also welcomes Dragons centre Connor Edwards into the fold for the clash with Steve Law’s unbeaten league table-toppers.

This afternoon’s encounter comes amid a dispute between Newport and the Dragons over match fees for home games at Rodney Parade.

Morris insists his and the squad’s focus has been entirely on playing matters this week, and the hosts will need to be at the top of their game if they are to end Cardiff’s 100% record.

While the Blue and Blacks have eight wins from as many fixtures, they don’t appear to be blowing teams away – four of those victories have been by seven points or less.

But the table doesn’t lie and a 12-point lead over second-placed Pontypridd with more than a third of the season gone shows they are now firm favourites for the title.

Meanwhile, there’s another big match near the foot of the table as Ebbw take on the All Whites at Eugene Cross Park (kick-off 2.30pm).

Only Bridgend sit below the Steelmen, who in turn are just one point behind today’s opponents.

Former Pontypridd, Bridgend and Llanelli fly-half Lewis Williams is set to make his Ebbw debut off the bench after joining the club along with prop Dave Whiting.

Having signed from Worcester, Whiting has already made two appearances as a replacement and again starts among the substitutes.

Prop Rob Sevenoaks is suspended and will be available for head coach Greg Woods when Ebbw host Bridgend next weekend.

In the Championship, unbeaten Bedwas travel to Maesteg Quins for the first time, with winger George Collins coming in for the fixture on permit from Pontypool United.

“Playing at Maesteg Quins is a first for myself and most of this squad, but it’s another game we are looking forward to,” said Bridge Field boss Stefan Sankala.

“The Quins come with a strong reputation of passion, belief and commitment and we expect a real physical challenge from their lads.

“I guess being an ex-Premiership outfit we have a target on our backs most weeks and that’s no different on Saturday.

“However, our preparation this week has been very positive and we are excited to deliver a performance.”

Leaders Pontypool go to Glamorgan Wanderers bidding for a 10th straight win of the campaign, while second-placed Bargoed host bottom club Ystrad Rhondda.

There is a massive battle on the cards at Pandy Park where struggling Cross Keys, who are level on points with Ystrad, play Trebanos, the side immediately above them.

Prop Richard Cornock skippers Keys, Curtis Povey could play after joining from Cambrian Welfare, and number eight Gwion Jones makes his first start.

Ebbw Vale: (home to Swansea): D Haymond; P King, D Franchi, E Phillips, J McCarthy; D Langdon, D Babos; R Jones, J Franchi, C Coleman, D Hill, A Sweet (capt), R Francis, B Fry, L Young. Reps: D Whiting, L Garrett, W Griffiths, M Ayling, D Rubasniak, L Williams, M Flanagan, D Thomas.

Newport (home to Cardiff): L Ap Myrddin; J Morris, C Edwards, A Jones, E Frewen; M O’Brien, L Crane; D Preece, M Dwyer, G Harris, A Mann, J Bartlett, J Skinner, J Reid, R Jenkins (capt). Reps: L Smout, H Palmer, T Piper, M Burgess, K Tayler, D Buckland, G O’Driscoll, R Gardner.

Bedwas (at Maesteg Quins): J Hallett; G Collins, M Williams, G Callow, J Rees; D McIntosh, M Bancroft; J Tucker, M Dacey, R Hutcherson, C Hudd, G Allen, J Richards, J Armitage (capt), D Rogers. Reps: L Davies, K Williams, O Jones, M Bovington, O Keane.

Cross Keys (home to Trebanos): L O’Brien; A Tetley, W Cunliffe, C Nicholls, A Upton; K Hill, Z Bartlett; O Peddle, Z Hewlett, R Cornock (capt), S Andrews, C Hague, C Johnsey, J Thomas, G Jones. Reps: C Vaughan, S Hoskins, H Reader, S Gibson, C Povey.

Pontypool (at Glamorgan Wanderers): G Walsh; P Lewis, C Gullis, J Mahoney, A Nove; R Powell, O Leonard; A Coundley, D Hughes, C Price, D Hodge, R Clarke, M Herbert, A Stratton, I Jones. Reps: S Evans, L Ball, S Matthews, A Quick, M Lewis.