Doncaster Knights strong-running centre Lloyd Hayes, who had been in impressive form since returning to the side last month following a shoulder injury, has been ruled out for the season.
The former Rotherham back will need surgery after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in the opening minutes of last weekend’s B&I Cup game against Cardiff Blues Premiership Select.
Better news for director of rugby Clive Griffiths is that both highly-rated full-back Paul Jarvis and back-rower Jack Ram are both set to play in the return at Pontypridd tomorrow.
“Depending on whether they have any adverse reaction to yesterday’s training session they will both play 40 minutes or so tomorrow,” he said.
“I was going to try and get Jarvis a run-out with Hull Ionians but they are away so I thought he might as well come with us.”
Jarvis hasn’t played since suffering a torn hamstring tendon in September while Ram picked up an ankle injury in only his second game back after making a delayed return from New Zealand.
Hooker Dave Nelson also makes a welcome return following a lengthy spell on the sidelines and that allows Griffiths the chance to rest Ben Hunter, who has a problem with his Achilles tendon.
Despite the fact that Griffiths originally had no plans to train on an artificial pitch this week in preparation for the game at Sardis Road, Knights have trained at the Keepmoat complex.
“We had no option as Castle Park was frozen,” he told The Star.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s clash Griffiths said: “It’s a game that we should win and we’ll be looking to pick up another bonus point win.
“But I agree with (Cardiff coach) Justin Burnell that it will be closer than the 70-12 win at Castle Park.
“They are at home and they’ll be wanting to put up a stronger performance.
“We are still keen to make the knock-out stages and we’ll know more about our prospects after this weekend.
“If we win tomorrow, and Leinster A beat Bristol tonight, we would probably only need to win one of our two remaining games to pick up enough points to qualify.”