Now that the Drovers have reached the final of the WRU Cup, the revamped programme of Premiership matches will take us through to the start/middle of May 2024, writes Huw S Thomas

The WRU Cup Final against Merthyr is scheduled for Sunday, April 7 but there are also very important games which will have huge bearing on the rest of the season.

Llandovery will be striving to finish first in the Premiership table, such a position guaranteeing a home draw at the semi-final play-off stage on May 4 and a possible home draw for the final.

The top four - at the moment likely to be Llandovery, Newport, Ebbw Vale and Cardiff - will fight it out for the Premiership title which the Drovers won last year in beating Cardiff 24-8.

The top team will play the fourth and the second team face the third, so that if the table were to finish - as predicated - Llandovery would meet Cardiff at Church Bank and Newport play Ebbw Vale at the Newport Stadium.

If both favourites win, then Llandovery would have home advantage over Newport in the final on May 11 due to finishing top of the regular season table.

But before any talk of Premiership semi-finals and finals, there is the not-so-small matter of completing the league programme and doing it successfully in the face of some tricky opposition.

The most difficult game will be the Newport Stadium on Thursday evening March 28 when the Black and Ambers will be hoping for a full house of points in their onerous quest to overtake Llandovery for top spot.

Before then, the Black and Ambers – bonus point winners over Neath at the weekend – have to travel to Ebbw Vale on March 23 in a game that is vital to the fortunes of both Gwent clubs.

If Newport were to win at Eugene Cross Park with a bonus point they would draw level with the Drovers on 90 points but will have only three games left to play, compared to Llandovery’s four.

An Ebbw Vale win would be of great advantage to the Drovers.

In Llandovery’s other games, they travel to Aberavon on April 13 before finishing with two home fixtures against Swansea on April 20 and Bridgend on April 25.

According to how the table stands, the top four will fight it out on May 4 for the privilege of advancing to the final on May 11.

Llandovery fixtures: March 28 Newport (a); April 13 Aberavon (a); April 20 Swansea (h); April 25 Bridgend (h)

Possible additions dependent on placings: May 4 play off semi-final; May 11 play off final.