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Harries Ready For A Battle

Harries Ready For A Battle

It’ll be a battle of the little men at the Brewery Field tomorrow (Saturday) as Bridgend tackle the newest rugby club in Europe, Borders.
Bridgend scrum-half Huw Harries is back in the starting lineup after missing last weekend’s epic Celtic League victory over Newport. And he faces Scotland veteran Gary Armstrong in a key battle tomorrow.
“I’m not going to play second fiddle to anyone,” Harries vowed, in reference to both Armstrong and Bridgend’s off-season signing, Samoan international Sililo Martens.
“I’ve fought for my place in the team before, and I’ll do it again – it’s nothing new,” the talented Harries said.
Borders arrive in Wales still reeling from watching Connacht replacement Mark McHugh belt over a 45m dropped goal into the wind to give the Irishmen a one-point win in the opening round.
The Scottish team are also suffering an injury crisis. Internationals Doddie Weir, Shaun Longstaff, George Graham and Tanner Vili are out, and Scotland winger Cammie Murray faces four months on the sideline after wrecking his shoulder against Connacht.
Newport have made three changes as they try to get their season back on track at the hardest possible place – the white-hot cauldron of Pontypridd’s Sardis Road.
Reeling from their 5-13 loss to Bridgend, despite having nearly 80 percent of possession, Newport coaches Leigh Jones and Richard Hill have moved New Zealander Shane Howarth to fullback in place of Matt Pini, while Jason Strange comes in at outside-half.
Dale Burn will start at scrum-half, with another former All Black in Ofisa Tonu’u recovering from injury in time to figure on the bench.
Pontypridd hero Neil Jenkins will play his first game at Sardis Road since returning from his three-season stint at rivals Cardiff, while dreadlocked flanker Richard Parks will be keen to get one over his old club after getting limited chances to shine with the Black and Ambers.
The Sardis Road men will be secretly relieved that Newport don’t boast a genius like Brian O’Driscoll in their backline. The Ireland international single-handedly destroyed Pontypridd last weekend.
At Caerphilly, coach Mark Ring is hoping an old pals act will provide inspiration for his team as they search for their first Premiership victory since December against Llanelli.
Ring called up his old Wales teammate Phil Davies during the week to ask for pointers on how Davies got his Leeds team to beat English and European champions Leicester in the opening game of the season last weekend.
“It’s obviously harder for us to compete against top sides because we are virtually semi-professional,” Ring said.
“We are working off a budget of £308,000, but that doesn’t stop us from being competitive.
“If our crowd can get behind us, and we can build on our creditable performance against Neath, then I think we can cause a bit of an upset.”
Davies said: “Mark Ring was one of the most mercurial rugby players I ever played with.
“He always looked to do the impossible and always believed he could win every game. That is the sort of will and desire that he needs to pass on to his players.
“If Mark believes his team can do, and he can convince his players of that, then the Scarlets had better look out.”
Llanelli go into their match without David Hodges (United States), Jamie Cudmore (Canada) and brothers Guy and Simon Easterby (Ireland), who are away on international duty.

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