OPPORTUNITY knocks for a handful of Newport players in their top of the table clash at Cardiff in the Premiership Cup this evening.

The Black and Ambers head to the Arms Park without their Dragons academy contingent, who have been influential in their five-game winning streak.

Flanker George Young, fly-half Will Reed and wing Oli Andrew will instead be in action in an inter-regional training fixture.

Dragons flanker Lennon Greggains is also absent while a shoulder injury is assessed but it is feared the 22-year-old, who started the season superbly with Newport, will have a lengthy lay-off.

The Black and Ambers have to change a winning side but still head to the capital with a strong, and hungry, line-up.

"Ideally we would have kept the same team but us and Ebbw Vale have lost a few boys," said head coach Ty Morris.

"It would have been a good opportunity for the young lads to go up against a strong Cardiff team with a lot of professional players.

"I think they could have learnt a lot more in a competitive Premiership game than an inter-regional one but it is what it is.

"We are lucky that we have good enough strength in depth to give other people opportunities. Those coming in have been patient and this is a chance for them to put their hand up."

The loss of Reed will lead to captain Matt O'Brien returning to his primary position of fly-half with Jack Wright getting a chance in midfield.

"Jack will give us a different dynamic behind – he is a big, hard-carrying 12," said Morris. "Rhys Jenkins is also busting a gut to get a regular place in the back row, so we are still looking strong."

Newport are top of the table with Cardiff a point back, with both teams looking good for the quarter-finals.

Ebbw Vale need to win at Pontypridd tomorrow (kick-off 1pm) if they are to avoid the hosts, who are in the last qualification spot, building on their three-point lead.

The Steelmen are on a four-game losing streak but did earn a consolation bonus with a battling display against Merthyr last time out.

There are no fixtures in the Championship Cup or Plate with the league, featuring Pontypool, Bargoed, Bedwas and Cross Keys, starting next Saturday.