NEWPORT will come up against plenty of familiar faces when they make their first visit to Ealing Trailfinders this afternoon.
The Black and Ambers have the honour of opening the ambitious English side’s new plastic pitch at Vallis Way.
Sven Cronk’s men will be looking to build on pre-season wins against Bargoed and Blackheath and will come up a pair of former Newport players in scrum-half Alex Walker and hooker/flanker Arthur Ellis.
Ealing also give a start to former Dragons tighthead Nathan Buck but new club captain Tom Brown, who played number eight for the region and Newport, sits out the game.
The Black and Ambers are boosted by the presence of back row forward Sam Cross and scrum-half Owen Davies, who missed last Saturday’s hard-fought 18-15 win at Blackheath after helping the Dragons to second place at the Premiership Rugby 7s the previous evening.
Bedwas also head over the Severn Bridge to take on Henley Hawks, who they beat 12-7 at Bridge Field last summer.
Ebbw Vale host Championship side Moseley at Abertillery RFC tomorrow (kick-off 2.30pm). The West Midlanders are set to include former Steelman Will Owen in midfield.
The season starts with British and Irish Cup qualifiers on Saturday August 30 (Cross Keys v Ebbw Vale and Bedwas v Newport) and Saturday, September 6 (the winners of the two semis) while the Premiership kicks off on Saturday, September 13