PONTYPOOL captain Scott Matthews believes the next fortnight will be a real test of the Championship champions’ promotion aspirations.

Pooler have made a perfect start to the defence of their title with bonus-point victories against Beddau and Ystalyfera either side of a WRU National Cup win over Swansea of the Premiership.

Leighton Jones’ men are chasing top spot for the fourth season on the spin, which this time carries with it the prize of automatic promotion to the top flight.

However, things go up a notch tomorrow when they entertain Neath (kick-off 2.30pm), one of five teams to have won both league fixtures so far this season.

The Welsh All Blacks, who brought in coach Matthew Jones from Pooler in the summer, have rebuilt after their Premiership relegation and beaten Trebanos and Ystrad Rhondda to date.

The clash with Neath is followed by a trip to Narberth – the West Walians also boast two wins from two and made Ebbw Vale work hard for a cup win at Eugene Cross Park – and the Pooler captain expects a stern examination of their 48-game league winning streak.

“Neath is a big one and it’s exciting to be playing them, Cross Keys, Bedwas and Bargoed after they came down from the Premiership,” said flanker Matthews.

“It’s going to be a really competitive and hard league – the toughest year yet – because of that quality plus the likes of Cardiff Met and Narberth.

“I think that the Championship has always been tough.

“Last season was my first here and I don’t think some teams really get the credit they deserve, some scorelines make games seem easier than they were.

“We’ve made a good start to the season, but we will really know where we are after these next two games because Neath are a quality side with top players like Aaron Bramwell and then Narberth is always a hard place to go.

“But we are confident, and it was a good win at Ystalyfera – we didn’t let standards drop after a big game against Swansea in the cup.”

Bedwas look to make it three wins on the bounce tomorrow when Ystalyfera travel to Bridge Field.

Stefan Sankala’s charges have adapted well to life in the Championship, hammering Cross Keys and then edging out Beddau.

Like Bedwas, Keys take on a side yet to register a point this season as they go to Maesteg Quins, while unbeaten Bargoed visit Glamorgan Wanderers.

Meanwhile, Newport, who are without a game until October 12, have thanked the coaches and players at Cardiff Met University for taking part in a joint training session with the Black and Ambers.

With their extended break from action, Newport head coach Ty Morris was keen for his squad to get a full-contact workout and the students duly obliged.

Newport’s next match is away to Aberavon, while Ebbw Vale host Llandovery on the same day.