Ever since the draw for the WRU National Cup quarter-finals was made in January, I think every Pontypool supporter would have had our last eight tie against Bridgend Ravens circled on the calendar. It is our third consecutive appearance in the last eight of the competition and we're highly motivated to give a good account of ourselves on Saturday and hopefully claim the victory.
Our last two appearances at this stage of the competition have been away from home and it does undoubtedly add an extra bit of excitement to know that we will finally have the chance to run out at Pontypool Park this weekend. Everyone at the club is looking forward to the big, vocal crowd that will undoubtedly be in attendance and we will leave everything out on the field against Matt Silva's men.
Bridgend are a quality side and will be determined to not fall to defeat against the final Championship side in the draw. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the other teams in the Championship, but Bridgend are playing a higher standard of rugby than us on a weekly basis and we will have to be ready to meet their challenge head on. The Ravens are a confrontational side who also have the ability to spread the ball wide and play open, attractive rugby. The physicality will be right up there on Saturday.
In terms of our preparation for the game, nothing will change. We have analysed Bridgend in the same way we would any other opponent and we wouldn't contemplate doing things any other way. As ever, our primary focus is on ourselves and what we can do to influence the game.
Away from the main game, it is great to see that four youth teams will take part in their own matches prior to kick-off and during the half-time interval, which will only add to the occasion.
Despite not plying our trade in the more heavily-covered Principality Premiership, we won't go into the game benefiting from any element of surprise as a team. The rugby community in Wales is a relatively small one and most games in the Championship are filmed, even if they aren't used for media purposes. If you really wanted to find footage of an opposition team, you would be able to source what you needed relatively easily.
As a club, we love being involved in big occasions and Saturday will be right up there. Since the start of ring-fencing in 2016, we have relished the challenge of taking on Premiership teams as, among other things, we try to improve every year as a group and coming up against quality opposition is a good test of how we have developed.
Andrew Quick was speaking to Andrew Deering.