LIFE as a rugby professional for Pontypool starlet Lennie Woodard is sweet.

The ex-Pontypridd and Hull rugby league star, now with Premiership hopefuls Pontypool, is enjoying life back at his home town club though he admits the drop to the lower division has been a struggle.

"It's taken me a bit of time to settle in. It's been hard from playing in front of 5,000 fans to 500. Being a professional player people think it should not affect you, but it does. I've had to learn how to re-focus and it took me four or five games to do this," Woodard revealed.

Yet despite being harsh on his performances as a player this season, the flying wing has excelled, scoring seven electric tries that have helped propel Pooler to title contenders in Division One.

"I haven't being totally satisfied with my game. Certain aspects you can never be 100 per cent happy with and in training I have been working hard on my kicking and defensive game. In saying that there have been sides I am pleased with," he said.

Woodard, who before turning professional five years ago played his weekly rugby at Pontypool Park with the red and blacks, has enjoyed an illustrious rugby voyage that has seen him don the shirts of some of the games biggest clubs. Stints at Ebbw Vale, Hull RL and Pontypridd have all shaped Woodard into a deadly weapon in any team's armoury, always feared for his breathtaking speed.

Now back at Pontypool, Woodard is confident his team can win the Division One title but has warned Saturday's opponents Aberavon pose a major threat.

"I have been impressed with the way Aberavon have fought back after a series of defeats to be in the top half of the table. It will be an interesting fixture, but the pressure's on them. They are at home and expected to win.

Full back David Smith could make his first start for over a year for Pontypool tomorrow after recovering from a serious knee injury while a front row spot is undecided until Pontypool know whether Ceri Jones is available on dual registration from Newport.

Pontypool: D Smith/J Griffin, L Woodard, C Landry, J Hawker, S John, B Hayward, N Lloyd, G Gunter/C Jones, L Jones, U Moa, K Faletau, M Powell, M Jones, A Howarth, M Tuipulotu. Replacements: AN Other, G Jenkins, C Treherne, G Taylor, I Jones, A Lloyd, AN Other. Kick-off 2.30pm.