PONTYPOOL skipper Scott Matthews has spoken of the squad’s excitement at the prospect of going up against Premiership opposition again in the WRU National Cup.

Championship leaders Pooler, who travel to Neath tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm), host top-tier Carmarthen Quins in the quarter-finals of the knockout competition next Saturday.

The Quins were dumped out of the cup by Pontypool two seasons ago, one of six Premiership scalps for Leighton Jones’ men since the start of 2017.

Llanelli, Cardiff, Cross Keys, Bridgend and Swansea have also fallen to Pooler in that time, while Jones would have taken his team to the final last season but for a late Merthyr penalty.

“In the month of January we will play a total of five games and that will be a good test of our squad depth,” said flanker Matthews in his column on the official Pontypool club website.

“We have some really exciting fixtures to look forward to and I know the squad are particularly excited by the upcoming National Cup clash at home to Carmarthen Quins.

“They are flying in the Premiership and it’s a fixture that will see us in the unfamiliar position of underdogs.

“It will be a nice change of pace and it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of facing us in front of what is sure to be another large crowd at the Park.

“We will welcome the challenge and see it as another opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams the Premiership has to offer.”

Pooler will be aiming to go into the Quins clash on the back of a 15th straight league win of the season.

They were 59-5 winners when Neath visited Pontypool Park earlier in the campaign and have been piling on the points of late, with a total of 193 in their last three games.

Bargoed are doing all they can to stay in touch with the leaders – they have an 11-point deficit to make up but do have a game in hand.

The Bulls welcome sixth-placed Glamorgan Wanderers to Bargoed Park tomorrow, while Bedwas, in third, go to one from bottom Ystalyfera and Cross Keys host Maesteg Quins.

Keys were unable to follow up their defeat of Bedwas with another success at Cardiff Met, going down 44-20 in the capital.

In the Premiership, Ebbw Vale may prop up the table, but they showed plenty of fighting spirit last weekend in a 10-10 draw at windswept Llandovery.

Greg Woods’ men will need to show the same endeavour and more tomorrow when Pontypridd arrive at Eugene Cross Park (kick-off 2.30pm).

Fixtures – Beddau v Cardiff Met, Cross Keys v Maesteg Quins, Narberth v Ystrad Rhondda, Neath v Pontypool, Trebanos v Tata Steel, Ystalyfera v Bedwas.