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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 14:46 GMT
Cup quarters delayed
Ponty celebrate winning
Pontypridd won the cup last year
The WRU have switched the dates of the Principality Cup quarter-finals to avoid a potential club v country clash.

The ties were due to be played on the weekend of 15 March, sandwiched between Wales' Six Nations games with Scotland and Ireland.

National coach Steve Hansen would have been unwilling to release his players for those dates, and rather than see the games devalued the WRU have agreed to play the ties on the weekend of 5 April.

Welsh Premiership games scheduled for that weekend will have to be re-arranged, increasing the backlog of fixtures to be played at the end of the season.

The quarter-final draw of the Principality Cup had produced some very tasty ties.

All four games feature some form of bitter local rivalry and with the advent of provincial rugby and possible merger of clubs, Sport Online takes a look at what the draw has produced.

Quarter-Final Draw:

Bridgend v Swansea
Ebbw Vale v Newport
Llanelli v Neath
Cardiff v Pontypridd

*Ties to be played weekend 4-6 April

Bridgend v Swansea

Cull has been in fine form
Gareth Cull in action for Bridgend

Bridgend have been in excellent form of late wining all five of their Welsh Premier league games and sit proudly at the top of the table. They will be thankful for home advantage and will look to book their place in the last four.

Swansea will not be relishing their trip to the Brewery Field. Their inconsistent performances in all competitions this term has led to much criticism. Can they use the Principality Cup to restore some pride?

Ebbw Vale v Newport

Newport's Percy Montgomery
Will Percy inspire Newport?

A Gwent merger is perhaps the only things that Welsh rugby can agree on. Both sides appear happy to join forces, but that partnership will not be as welcoming when the two sides go head-to-head.

The Steelmen needed extra time to overcome Carmarthen Quins in the seventh round. Fans at Eugene Cross Park would love to see their team in the hat for the next round but expect Newport to produce a big performance to see them into the last four.

Llanelli v Neath

Shane Williams scored four tries against Glamorgan Wanderers
Will Neath beat the Scarlets?

Llanelli have been the most successful Welsh side in recent years and history also shows the Scarlets affiliation with the Cup. Having already taken the silverware home to Stradey Park 11 times, Gareth Jenkins men will look to make it 12.

Neath however will have other ideas. The Welsh All Blacks have proved they can perform on the big stage following their Heineken Cup and Celtic League final involvement. Lyn Jones said this team where simply not good enough to win those tournaments, can they go all the way domestically?

Cardiff v Pontypridd

Iestyn Harris
Can Cardiff restore some pride?

This is perhaps the biggest grudge tie. Both sides have made it clear that what ever the future holds for the two clubs, unity is not an option.

Cardiff's young side have had a steep learning curve this season and coach Dai Young will be first to admit that his team have struggled up front. Like Swansea, the Cup could salvage some respect following a tough season.

Pontypridd have the psychological advantage having already beaten Cardiff twice this season. Will Ponty make it a hat-trick of victories and prove that the Valleys should not be swallowed up in the future reorganisation?

Follow all the knockout action

Round 7





Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.

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