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Welsh conference play-off previews
Valley Cougars v NPT Steelers at Nelson RFC Bridgend Blue Bulls v Newport Titans at Porthcawl RFC Torfaen Tigers v Cardiff Demons at Pontypool United RFC
The Welsh Rugby League Conference play-offs begin this weekend with six of the eight teams in action. After finishing unbeaten and top of the Conference Table the Blackwood Bulldogs receive a bye into the semi final while bottom placed West Wales Sharks miss out on the play-offs after finishing bottom.
The Valley Cougars, who finished as runners up in the table will host the NPT Steelers, who finished seventh. The Cougars have lost just one game this season while the Steelers only have a single victory, but the Valleymen will be wary as last season the Steelers also finished seventh and travelled to second placed Torfaen and beat them 24-20.
The teams last met at the end of May with the Cougars winning a closely thought match 40-34 and the Aberavon based side will travel to Nelson full of confidence.
At Porthcawl RFC the third placed Blue Bulls take on the Newport Titans. Just a fortnight ago Bridgend beat Newport 38-36 in an excellent game at Pil Harriers in which Titans Scott Bessant missed a last second kick to draw the game. For the game Newport will welcome back their Talisman and captain Mark Wheeler and he will be a huge boost as the Titans aim to claim their first ever victory over the Bulls.
Bridgends preparations for the game have been serverly dented after losing a number of key players to injury. 20 year old hooker Shaun Owens had to be carried from the pitch last week after seriously hurting his leg against Torfaen while stand-off Jamie Murphy picked up a thumb injury. The Bulls will also be sweating on the fitness of Lloyd O