Rugby Union: Die-hard Evans is back in big time: Robert Cole previews this afternoon's matches in the fourth round of the Swalec Cup

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The Independent Online
DAVID EVANS will hit the big time of Welsh rugby again in the Swalec Cup this afternoon hoping to exorcise the memory of his last outing in the tournament two years ago.

On that occasion, Evans so badly damaged his knee ligaments that he was ruled out of the game for 18 months and one of Wales's international players was denied the chance of adding to his 10 caps.

But at Sardis Road today the former Cardiff captain, now Treorchy outside-half, will be one of the star attractions in the game of the day in the cup's fourth round.

To make the day all the more interesting, Evans will find himself in direct opposition to Pontypridd's Welsh international outside-half, Neil Jenkins.

The contest between the two could determine which way the game goes although Treorchy, flying high at the top of the Heineken League Second Division, would have you believe the match is not of any great importance.

How can that be when a near-packed house at the First Division ground will be waiting to see which is the top side in the Rhondda area.

'The romanticism of the cup must not cloud our overall objectives for the season. We're all very excited about the occasion, but our main objective is promotion in the league,' Evans said.

'That said, it couldn't have been a better draw for us. The Rhondda Valley starts on the outskirts of Pontypridd and there will be a lot of local pride at stake. It's going to be a great occasion.'

Of that there can be little doubt. Pontypridd, the in-form team of the First Division, will certainly start as favourites, especially as they have recently accounted for Cardiff and Neath in the league.

But Treorchy, the only unbeaten team in the four divisions of the league, will know exactly what they have let themselves in for. Their captain, Paul Knight, the former Wales tight-head prop, captained Pontypridd, while the visitors' coaches, Chris and Clive Jones, used to be in charge at Sardis Road.

'It won't be the end of the world if we don't win this game, but it will be if we don't get promotion in the league,' Clive Jones said. 'It would be wrong to say that the cup is not important to us, especially as we're drawn against Pontypridd, but realistically we're unlikely to win it and we have to view it in that light.'

The cup holders, Llanelli, should not have too much trouble in winning at Llantrsant, while First Division Newport could have a few early problems at the home of Fairwater, the Cardiff and District club.

But while the wet weather is bound to make the day all the more treacherous for the leading sides, there looks like being little scope for a major upset - unless Evans and Treorchy can get their act together.