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Newport Send Youngsters In Against Pontypool

Newport Send Youngsters In Against Pontypool

Newport Rugby fans will get the chance to see the potential future face of the black and ambers when the Welsh Premiership club parade 11 of their Under 21 team products at Pontypool Park on Saturday (2.30pm).

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The match against last season’s First Division runners-up will provide the club’s new coaching team of Leigh Jones and Richard Hill with an opportunity to run the rule over contenders for first-team places next season.

Newport kick-off their season with a home Celtic League clash with Bridgend on Friday, 30 August (7.05pm), and the game against Gwent rivals Pontypool will be the first of three warm-up matches.

The other two are against fellow Heineken Cup side, and English Champions, Gloucester. The first is at Kingsholm on Friday, 16 August, while the return is at Rodney Parade on wednesday, 21 August.

Jones and Hill intend to use all 22 players during the game at Pontypool and will give three of last season’s Wales Under 19 team, centre Richard Payne, lock Luke Charteris and back row man Mark Popham an early chance to impress.

Former Cross Keys lock Matthew Veater will play the full 80 minutes on his debut for the club, while Treorchy’s Matthew Rowlands is being given a trial on the wing.

In the back row, the Popham brothers will play alongside each other in the first half, Mark at openside flanker and Alix at No 8, while in the second half Alix will switch to blindside to allow Andy Powell to move to No 8.

The cousin of Wales prop Chris Anthony, Mark Anthony, will fill in at tight head prop in the first-half. Adrian Garvey will replace him at half-time.

“This is the first stage in our match conditioning process as we build towards our opening game against Bridgend,” said Newport Rugby team manager Jim McCreedy.

“Training has been going well, but this will give our new coaches a chance to see how their ideas are fitting in.”

Ruled out of the friendly through injury are Andy Marinos, Hal Luscombe, Jon Pritchard, Jason Jones-Hughes, Matt Mostyn, Shane Howarth, Ofisa Tonu’u and Ian Gough.

Back row men Jason Forster and Gareth Gravell are with the Wales Sevens side at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, while club captain Simon Raiwalui and prop Rod Snow are still resting after a summer of international rugby. Chris Anthony is on holiday.

“Andy Marinos stained a calf muscle during training, while Hal Luscombe and Jon Pritchard are recovering from foot injuries. Matt Mostyn, Ofisa Tonu’u and Jason Jones-Hughes are all on their way back from knee problems, but the signs are they will all be fit for consideration against Bridgend,” added McCreedy.

“Shane Howarth had four wisdom teeth removed recently and is still recovering. Meanwhile, Ian Gough is continuing with the rehabilitation of his damaged shoulder.”

NEWPORT RUGBY: Matt Pini (captain); Matthew Rowlands, Richard Payne, Scott
Williams, David Warwick; Jason Strange, Matthew Thomas; Ceri Jones, James Richards, Mark Anthony, Matthew Veater, Luke Charteris, Andy Powell, Mark Popham, Alix Popham.
Changes at Half-Time: Nathan Brew for Payne, Ben Breeze for Warwick, Llyr
Lane for Thomas, David Pattison for Jones, Adrian Garvey for Anthony, Mike
Voyle for Charteris, Rhys Jones for Mark Popham.

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