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WRU Championship: Weekend Preview

Pontypool will hold a minute’s silence before their home game against Narberth on Saturday in memory of Charlie Faulkner, a member of the legendary Pooler front row who died on Thursday.

Alongside surviving teammates Graham Price and Bobby Windsor, Faulkner carved out a reputation as a formidable scrummager for club and country during the 1970s.

The club will pay tribute to Faulkner before the match and have stated: “Charlie was a much-loved character and a massive part of the history of Pontypool RFC.

“He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Everyone at Pontypool RFC send their deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to Charlie’s family at this very difficult time.”

The loss of Faulkner comes just five months after the passing of another former Pontypool hero, Eddie Butler, who died last September.

It is certain to make for an emotional atmosphere when Pooler bid to overcome Narbeth at Pontypool Park in a 1.30pm kick-off on Saturday afternoon.

The fixture is the pick of the weekend, with Pooler having seen their lead at the top of the WRU Championship trimmed to just two points in midweek.

That narrowing came after Neath hammered Ystalyfera 39-10 at The Gnoll on Thursday night to move closer to Pooler at the top, although Pooler do have a game in hand.

Pooler coach Leighton Jones has urged his team to be more ruthless after they ran out 49-7 winners at home to Cross Keys in their last game, but failed to really rub things in when Keys were reduced to just 11 men late on.

“Cross Keys went down to 11 men and we scored 12 points in the second half so we were bitterly disappointed with that,” said Jones.

“There was a lot of frustration in the team and certain people lost their heads.”

Second row Garin Price and wing Deon Smith return to the Pontypool line-up against a Narberth team who currently lay fifth in the table.

The Otters have not played for a fortnight, since they enjoyed an impressive 51-28 victory at home to Glamorgan Wanderers.

The Wanderers also return to action on Saturday, when they host Bedwas at The Memorial Ground, Ely, in Cardiff.

Only three places separate the clubs in mid-table, but Bedwas have been the more consistent side this season, with two more wins in their 11 matches, including last week’s 17-13 away victory at Trebanos.

Struggling Tata Steel will have it all to do again as they seek their first victory of the season away to Maesteg Quins.

The two sides met as recently as two weeks ago, when the Quins won 26-5 at Margam.

Before Saturday, there is one Friday night fixture in the Championship at Trebanos, who host the students of Cardiff Met.

The Met are having a surprisingly inconsistent season, with seven wins and seven defeats, but will fancy their chances of winning in the Swansea Valley as Trebanos have picked up only two wins all seasons, the last of which was back in November.

Friday 10 February 2023

19:15     Trebanos v Cardiff Met

Saturday 11 February 2023

13:00     Glamorgan Wanderers v Bedwas

13:30     Maesteg Quins v Tata Steel

13:30     Pontypool v Narberth

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