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REPLACEMENTS: 16. Alex Watkins 17. Jamie Jeune 18. Ollie Drake 19. Callum Davies 20. Matthew Thomas 21. Brandon Kent 22. Rhys Dyer 23. Tom Hancock
Cross Keys v Pontypool (WRU National Cup Quarter-Final) at Pandy Park on Saturday 4 March 2017 – playing history between the two clubs and match preview by Ray Ruddick
Traditional rivals and near neighbours (less than 10 miles between the two grounds) Pooler and Keys have been playing each other for well over one hundred years.
In fact, the first game between the two clubs was on Monday 25 April 1904 at Recreation Ground, Pontypool when Cross Keys ran out 11-0 winners scoring 3 tries and a conversion.
On Monday 27 April 1925 the clubs met in the final of the Godfrey Jones Trophy at Rodney Parade when Pooler were victorious 12-0 (3 tries and a penalty).
The only time Keys and Pooler have met in the WRU Cup was at Pandy Park on Saturday 22 February 1992 at the last sixteen stage – Pontypool won 19-6 (2 tries, 1 conversion and 3 penalties to 1 try and 1 conversion).
Overall, the clubs have met on 192 occasions with Pooler winning 116, Cross Keys 53 and 23 draws, Pooler scoring 2,553 points and Keys 1,411 points.
At Pontypool, 102 matches have been played, Pooler winning 72, Keys 16 and 14 draws, Pooler scoring 1,509 points and Keys 610 points.
At Cross Keys, 89 matches have been played, Pooler winning 43, Keys 37 and 9 draws, Pooler scoring 1,032 points and Keys 801 points.
As well as being local rivals, the clubs combined to face New Zealand, Australia and South Africa after the Second World War.
There have been five such matches, all played at Pontypool Park, as follows:
Saturday 16 January 1954 – Pontypool & Cross Keys 6, New Zealand 19
Wednesday 20 November 1957 – Pontypool & Cross Keys 6, Australia 14
Wednesday 2 November 1960 – Pontypool & Cross Keys 3, South Africa 30
Wednesday 27 November 1963 – Pontypool & Cross Keys 0, New Zealand 11
Tuesday 29 November 1966 – Pontypool, Cross Keys & Newbridge 12, Australia 3
Pontypool will be looking for a third Premiership scalp in this season’s WRU National Cup competition having accounted for Llanelli at Parc y Scarlets 19-11 in the first round and a very impressive 43-32 success over Cardiff at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in round two.
Cross Keys beat Glynneath 49-3 at Abernant Park in round one and defeated Neath 29-10 at Pandy Park in the second round.
Pooler won the cup in 1983 and were beaten finalists in 1991 while Keys lifted the trophy in 2012 and were runners-up two years later.
This season, Pontypool are on a remarkable winning run of 19 matches in all competitions and lead the WRU National Championship table by 16 points with five league matches remaining. Cross Keys were in 12th position (winning 7 out of their 15 fixtures with 31 league points) in the Principality Premiership table at the half way stage of the season when the division was split into two tiers and Keys are competing in Tier 2 for the rest of this campaign.
The Pontypool team and replacements will be selected from the squad.