The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The unbeaten Bridgend Blue Bulls take on a Cardiff Demons side this Saturday still shell-shocked after their surprise defeat to Swansea Valley Miners last weekend, but the Demons should be back to full strength with the likes of Gareth Jones returning from International duty.
The Bulls are likely to be without Karl Hockin and Alan Bateman for the rest for the season, Hockin broke his thumb in the opening minutes of last Sundays Wales v Scotland match while Bateman sustained a broken arm while playing Union in Rob Howley?s Testimonial game. Bridgend captain Kevin Ellis says ?both Allan and Karl are class players and we will miss them, but we have a strong squad and some very good youngsters coming through?. Ellis is also taking nothing for granted ahead of the game at Taffs Well saying ?they were missing most of their best players so the result v Swansea was no surprise, we always get a tough game v the Demons and I expect Saturdays game to be no different?.
Elsewhere Aberavon Fighting Irish take on a much improved Swansea side with the Miners hoping to repeat last weeks performance, but Aberavon will start as firm favourites, especially after their heroic triumph over Newport. After watching his side beat the Titans 46-30 Chris O?Callaghan said it was the best he?d ever felt in all the years he?d been coaching Rugby teams?.
Meanwhile at Sardis Road the Valley Cougars take on a Newport side desperate to get their season back on track after the loss to Aberavon. Cougars coach Mark Rowley hopes to inflict a third straight defeat on the Titans but admits his team will have to be at their very best to do so.
Aberavon Fighting Irish v Swansea Valley Miners
(at Aberavon Greenstars RFC)
Cardiff Demons v Bridgend Blue Bulls
(at Taffs Well RFC)
Valley Cougars v Newport Titans
(at Sardis Road)