Speaking at the Indigo Group Premiership launch at The Wern, Pontypridd centre Dafydd Lockyer set out his club’s aims for the season, and looked forward to a more competitive league in it’s new 12-team guise.
Friday’s derby match sets the tone for Pontypridd
Discussing Ponty’s pre-season efforts and looking ahead to Friday’s TV game at Cardiff Lockyer said, “It’s a massive game Friday and that’s where you find out where you are.
“It’s been as good as we could have hoped and had a lot of boys in training, the squad’s looking fit. “Pre-season can go as good as you want but if you lose that first and second game then it goes down the swanny.
“Friday’s massive in finding out where we are as a squad heading into the season.”
Younger players must replace Sweeney’s leadership
Losing Ceri Sweeney to retirement is a big loss to Pontypridd. Talking about the role the younger players now have Daffyd Lockyer (see below image, right) said; “He’s a massive loss to us but it’s for other players to step up. Ben Jones, Diggy Bird and Lewis Williams, it’s for those to step up now.
“You can’t have older boys there all the time trying to run stuff at them. They’ve got to start running games and doing stuff themselves.
“Hopefully the boys will just slot in and take it from where Sweeney was.”
The new 12-team format of the Welsh Premiership is set to make is more competitive than previous years according to Lockyer who said, “I think it’ll be more competitive. I don’t think there’ll be as big a gap between the bottom and the top this year.
“All the teams will be able to beat each other and that’ll be a massive thing this season. The top teams will be slipping up a lot.”
Dafydd Lockyer not worried about being ‘favourites’
Having such a rich history in the league and holding such a strong squad for the new season Ponty will undoubtedly be looked at as one of the favourites to win silverware.
Speaking about the ‘Favourites’ tagline Lockyer said, “We don’t pay much attention to whether we’re favourites.
“We know where we’re strong and we’re aren’t so strong. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and go by the way by and let Cardiff and Merthyr take the headlines.
“We’ll keep trucking on, picking up wins and try and sneak the league at the end.”
TV coverages uncovers the league’s quality
BBC and S4C’s TV coverage of the league has brought the league to the forefront of the rugby public’s eye.
Looking at the exposure the Welsh Premiership has gotten he said, “It’s been really good, especially for the younger boys.
“It’s made people a lot more aware of the Premiership because there are some class players in it who should really be playing higher levels. It gives the younger boys a better chance and people are really enjoying the games.”
He then added, “It’s not so structured and not so boring as watching regional rugby where there’s a lot more kicking. The ball is chucked about – A lot more mistakes – But it’s more exciting all round.”
Key aim for Ponty in 2019/20 – Silverware
Discussing the aims they have this season at Sardis Road one thing came to mind, “It’s the same as every year, we’ll be going for the Premiership league and Cup double. If we don’t win one of those we’ll be disappointed.”
To do that, they must face every one of the Indigo Group Premiership sides, including a strong squad at the Aberavon Welsh Premiership club.
Pontypridd opens their 2019/20 season on September 6, against Cardiff.
“Main photo credit – Mike Jones/Replay Images”