NEWPORT RFC intend to make themselves at home at Spytty Park when they kick off a new chapter in their rich history against Merthyr tomorrow afternoon.

The Black and Ambers have agreed a deal that will see them play most of their fixtures at Newport International Sports Village and just two games at Rodney Parade.

Newport instigated the move because of rising costs to play at their historic home, which they sold to the Welsh Rugby Union as part of their takeover of the Dragons in 2017.

It does, however, mean that they will have more control over their fixtures with the Ironmen heading to the city for a Saturday afternoon fixture that would have had to be shifted because of Newport County AFC’s League Two meeting with Bradford.

“It’s going to benefit us in the long run,” said head coach Ty Morris. “There is a lot of history at Rodney Parade and nobody really wants to leave there but we have to move on.

“I think it will be better for our supporters to get our Saturday afternoon games back, that’s what I grew up on.

“For the options on the table, the ground is more than ample and there are a lot of clubs worse off than us. I’m not a Newport County fan so I’ve never been there to watch a game but it’s a great set-up and the ground is fantastic.”

The Black and Ambers squad have been to look at the facilities but Saturday afternoon will be their first time on their new home field.

They are hunting a third Premiership Cup win on the spin after responding to opening weekend disappointment at Pontypridd with victories against Cardiff and RGC.

“After a good build-up to Ponty I was expecting us to take off, so that performance was a kick in the teeth.

“After that the boys have got things going again – we controlled all aspects in the second half at RGC.

“We’ll need an 80-minute performance against Merthyr, I know they have a couple of losses but they will be fired up this weekend.”

It already appears to be a five-team battle for the four qualification spots for the knockout rounds, which will pit the clubs against rivals from the western group.

RGC have struggled so far and Ebbw Vale will aim to add to their misery in Colwyn Bay this weekend.

The Steelmen are looking to respond to a disappointing performance against Cardiff and they will be up against a former coach.

Ceri Jones, who was part of Jason Strange’s management team and then was assistant to Nigel Davies for the 2016 title triumph, is now calling the shots at Parc Eirias.

Ebbw head coach Greg Woods felt his side struggled to cope with the Blue and Blacks’ aggression and wants his charged to up their game.

He said: “RGC will be another physical encounter and I am looking for a reaction from our players in terms of accuracy and physicality.”

The other game in the east group takes place in the capital this evening when Cardiff entertain Pontypridd.

Cross Keys and Bedwas will enjoy their first competitive action against teams from outside Gwent this weekend in the Championship Plate.

Keys head to Beddau while Bedwas entertain Tata Steel.

The Gwent duo kicked off the tournament with a derby at Pandy Park last weekend when the visitors triumphed 13-5 in challenging conditions.

Cardiff Met host Trebanos in the other plate fixture.

Bargoed qualified for the Championship Cup and get that campaign under way with a home encounter against Ystrad Rhondda, with Maesteg Quins, Glamorgan Wanderers, Narberth and Neath the other teams going for the silverware.