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Halfpenny signs National Dual Contract

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WALES full-back Leigh Halfpenny has committed his future to regional rugby and Wales by signing a three year National Dual Contract with the WRU and Scarlets.

The 28-year-old returns to Wales after a three-year spell with France giants Toulon and a third tour with the British & Irish Lions.

“I’m delighted to be coming back to play in Wales,” said Halfpenny. “I would like to thank the Scarlets and the WRU for giving me the opportunity to sign a National Dual Contract and can’t wait to get started.”

His return to Wales, where he previously excelled with Cardiff Blues between 2008-2014, has delighted national team head coach, Warren Gatland.

“It is great news for Welsh rugby that Leigh Halfpenny is returning to play his rugby in Wales,” said Gatland.

“The NDC system helps us to bring these players back and I look forward to seeing him play for the Scarlets.”

His sentiments were fully endorsed by WRU chief executive, Martin Phillips, who added: “I’m delighted that we are able to announce Leigh’s return to Wales. His signature rubber stamps our commitment to the game here in Wales by having our best players playing their rugby on home soil which is vital to the future health of our game.

“We have made no secret of that and the importance both on and off the field at regional and national level in Welsh players playing their rugby in Wales.”

Wayne Pivac, who guided the Scarlets to Guinness Pro12 glory last season, believes Halfpenny is a vital piece in the Scarlets jigsaw as he looks to bring future success to the region.

“Leigh joining is great news for the club, the supporters, the team and the region as a whole,” said Pivac.

“With the experience of Liam [Williams] and DTH [van der Merwe] moving on at the end of last season we’ve added some new players to the squad, some exciting young talent, and a guy like Leigh brings a lot of experience to the squad that he will share with those young players.

“It has worked out really well and we look forward to welcoming Leigh and he’s really excited to be joining the Scarlets because of the way we play the game.”

Scarlets General Manager of Rugby, Jon Daniels, echoed his thoughts, by adding: “We are delighted to finally be in a position to confirm that Leigh Halfpenny will be joining us at the Scarlets for the forthcoming season and beyond.

“He is a proven performer on the international stage and his qualities both on and off the pitch will be a great addition to our squad as we endeavour to build on the success of last season.”

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Haverfordwest County ask fans to stay away as football returns to Bridge Meadow

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HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY has asked fans not to attend the Bridge Meadow Stadium today, March 6, as the club restarts its JD Cymru Premier campaign.

The Bluebirds take on Cardiff Met in a game that kicks off at 2:30pm but, like all fixtures in the Cymru Premier, the game is being played behind closed doors.

A club statement asks fans not to congregate outside the stadium and adds that there are ‘rigorous protocols’ for those who must attend.

A spokesperson said: “Haverfordwest County AFC would like to urge all fans to stay at home for (the) fixture against Cardiff Met. For the foreseeable future, all matches will remain behind closed doors.

“The club, along with Welsh Government guidelines, explicitly forbids the congregation of fans outside the stadium to watch the game. There are numerous precautions in place to ensure that those who must attend the game, stick to rigorous protocols to remain safe.

“All match highlights will be available post-match, via Sgorio. We look forward to welcoming fans back to the Bridge Meadow, when it is safe to do so.”

The Club says that this will apply to all future home matches.

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Signed Wales shirts gifted to RNLI go up for auction

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FOLLOWING a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have scored a winning try for the RNLI, gifting six signed rugby shirts to help save lives at sea.

Each rugby shirt has been signed by the full WRU squad and are accompanied by a certificate of authentication – a winning prize for any Welsh rugby fan.

To avoid a ruck for the WRU shirts the charity has placed all six signed shirts on an online auction, ensuring a fair game for all who wish to win the golden prize. The auction will be live until Wednesday, March 31, which allows plenty of time for supporters to bid for the team in red.

Each signed shirt includes Wales Captain, Mumbles RNLI supporter and the most capped international player of all time Alun Wyn Jones; as well as Louis Rees-Zammit, the Man of the Match in the nail-biting Scotland v Wales game.

Nick Evans, RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead said: ‘On behalf of the charity I would like to say a big thank you to the Welsh Rugby Union for donating these fantastic prizes to the RNLI. RNLI volunteers are on call 24-7 and are often called away from important events such as family celebrations – or international rugby tournaments – to respond to the pager if someone is in trouble at sea.

‘Like all charities, 2020 was a challenging year for the RNLI when all traditional fundraising had to stop – all our shops were closed, there were no collections and all events had to be cancelled. This is why we at the RNLI are so grateful to all the team at WRU for their ongoing support. The auction is now live and we would like to encourage all Wales rugby supporters to throw the RNLI a lifeline and place their bid for the winning prize.’

To place a bid or find out more about the charity auction please visit https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/rnliwru.

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Five subs to be allowed for JD Cymru Premier clubs

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THE FAW’s National Leagues Board has confirmed that JD Cymru Premier clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 top-flight season.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

With the JD Cymru Premier set to restart on March 2, the National Leagues Board has approved the use of the rule in the JD Cymru Premier until the end of the current campaign.

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