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Seasiders sink Aber

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By Jonathan Twigg

TENBY welcomed an Aberystwyth team, which boasted the best defensive record having conceded just one try on average in Division 1 West this season, to Heywood Lane on Saturday (Sept 30) and ran out 33-7 winners scoring four tries to secure maximum points in a fully committed performance.

Not having played each other for twelve seasons in a league fixture, home skipper Johnnie Morgan elected for his side to play against the elements in the first period, where heavy rain before kick-off and a driving wind off the sea meant the hosts would have to be at their best defensively to keep the ‘Bluebears’ at bay.

Tenby did more than that as they showed a willingness to move the Jewsons sponsored ball through the hands of their back division

The Aberystwyth side relied heavily on keeping the ball close to their pack of forwards although scrum half Gruf Jones was often passing over 20m to the aligned ‘pods’ which restricted the pace and drive which his side required to penetrate the stoic home defence, where young hooker Kyle Hamer and prop Rob Luly stood out alongside the back row of Andrew Cooke, Barry Parsons and number 8 Roy Osborn.

Using the wind, territory was with Aber during the first half with centre Tom Evans creating an opportunity through some strong running for wing Gwern Penri, who spilled the scoring pass with the line beckoning.

The handling error was something the visitors suffered from throughout the game and may have been a reason why they kept the ball tight, although both Jones and his half back partner Llyr Thomas may well reflect on their game management further.

Winger Josh Thomas, playing on permit from Whitland made ground into the home midfield close to the midway point of the first half, combining in midfield with Evans and linking in hooker Owain Bonsall to where a resultant penalty attempt by Thomas was missed.

The opening score of the game came after 22 minutes when Tenby second row Dewi Davies secured lineout ball outside his 22m line, allowing full back Morgan to clear the ball 40m upfield.

The home pack caught opposition full back Casmir Yandell on the halfway line and wrestled possession back to scrum half Matthew Morgan to make 15m as he danced around the periphery of the ensuing ruck.

His pass found the hands of supporting half back partner Ashley Sutton who escaped the clutches of would be tacklers to run in from 30m under the posts and convert his try’

The half continued in the same pattern for Aber as they tried to run ball back from their own half when perhaps some leadership from the half backs to play in the 22m may have reaped rewards; number 8 Lee Evan managed to put Carwyn Evans in space but his hands let him down, as did Penri when he had a 10m clear run to the line for him to spill the crucial pass.

Referee Justin Williams had given both sides every opportunity to play as he used advantage and consistently applied the laws for the teams to know who was in charge and following his whistle to start the second half, with the elements in their favour and leading 7-0 Tenby took advantage straight away from the kick off when Lee Gower spilled Sutton’s restart.

After several phases of play deep in their opponents 22, Sutton pinged a drop goal wide of the posts before a second try was scored through the hands of Yanik Parker.

The winger rounded off a move where Hamer, Clarke created a channel for centre Jack Guerreio to enter at pace and put Parker beyond the last defender although Sutton could add the extras as he pushed the conversion across the posts.

Aber, through Bonsall and Evans, had a pack of forwards which had parity with their home counterparts in the loose and at line outs, plus dominating the scrum, where they had considerable advantage to push the home eight backwards.

Not being able to capitalise on this, a third Tenby try arrived as they gained possession deep in their own half.

Mathew Morgan took the ball off Parker before centre Moritz Neuman was one on one against Yandell as Full-back Jonny Morgan appeared outside him to create the extra man and score under the posts. Sutton added the conversion for a confident home side to lead 19-0, putting behind them the three defeats they have encountered in a row,

The bonus point came for the now dominant home side, who had stopped another Aber forward drive through Evans, Bonsall and Robbie Parry, returning the ball to the opposition 22.

Second row Williams secured crucial ball and his fellow forwards went through four phases of controlled drives before Osborne burrowed his way over the line for Sutton to again convert.

Aber came back once again through Bonsall, whose efforts made him stand out for the visitors, from which the ball was recycled across the line.

Thomas was hauled down just short of the line by Sutton, as Tenby reshuffled their back line all game to let their heavy hitters cover the inside channels and Sutton didn’t let the side down with his tackle.

Tenby were guilty of some handling errors as they made replacements during the final quarter, and from one such misplay Aber had an attacking 5m scrum from which the home eight pushed through once again the home pack, which captain Lee ‘Truck’ Evans picked up at the base of the scrum and touch down for Thomas to drop through the conversion.

The restart for Aber was once again a disaster as prop Jamie Plumbridge and second row Bryn Shepherd lacked communication and the loose ball was thrust into the hands of a marauding Tenby pack.

Establishing a strong attacking platform through several rucks centre Neuman set up the final scoring move with a strong run, where Sutton looped around prop Rob Clarke to the offload the ball to replacement winger Jordan Asparrasa who potted over and Sutton added the coup de grace to a fine Tenby performance.

Home coach Chris James was jubilant in his post-match analysis ‘as his side stood up to the task. We worked hard on our defence game this week in training after some less than brilliant performances which have cost us dearly, but today we were excellent. Johnnie [Morgan] elected to play into the elements on winning the toss and it set us up from the start, with strong tackles and a well organised defence line.”

James went on that to say: “We worked hard to gain parity against a renowned physical visiting set of forwards and we were able to develop as the second half went on, so much so we dictated much of the final part of the game when the heavens opened.

Prop Rob Luly epitomised our work rate as he kept his composure in our under pressure scrum whilst also being a stand out performer in the loose, so he will enjoy the steaks provided by Heywoods Butchers as he was deservedly man of the match.”

Tenby head to Llanelli Wanderers tomorrow (Oct 7) in a WRU Plate match against a side they defeated 42-23 on the opening day of the season.

Aber head coach Andrew Barlow acknowledged his side “didn’t take advantage of the wind in the first half as we tried to run from deep when perhaps we should have played the percentage game more.

“It hasn’t helped that we have a few injuries in our back line and today we had a back three who not trained together, but no excuses as we were roundly defeated against a side who play good rugby on an outstanding surface, despite the weather.”

Sport

Bluebirds bag last-gasp draw

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JD Cymru Premier League • Haverfordwest County 1 – Caernarfon Town 1

A LAST minute Danny Williams equaliser secured a deserved point for the Bluebirds after a dominant performance at the Bridge Meadow.

The tone for the game was set in the first minute, as only a last-ditch tackle denied Cameron Keetch a shot at goal after he latched on to a lofted pass. The opening 15 minutes were relatively quiet, Tibbets comfortably saved a Sean Pemberton header and Matt Turner stopped Mike Hayes in his track as he had the ball in the box.

The Bluebirds enjoyed a lot of possession in these opening minutes, playing some good football on the pristine surface. The first real chance came as an Elliot Scotcher corner ricocheted around the box before it was cleared off the line. Just 5 minutes later, Scotcher himself hit the post from an excellently struck free-kick from just outside the penalty area. The next chance fell to Marcus Griffiths who couldn’t quite get on the end of a low cross across the face of goal.

Some bad news for the Bluebirds, Cameron Keetch departed the pitch on the 29th minute after suffering an injury, he was replaced by super-sub Jack Wilson. He was straight into the action as he was played through by Ben Fawcett, but he curled his effort just wide of the post. Matt Turner then saved a well-struck free-kick from the edge of the Bluebirds penalty area. Jack Wilson had the final chance of the half as his curling effort from the right skimmed over the bar. A stalemate at halftime, but the Bluebirds on top.

The second half began as the first ended, this time is was Gruffydd John with a last-ditch tackle to deny Danny Williams. After Sean Pemberton headed wide, Danny Williams played a lofted ball through to Jack Wilson, who headed over Tibbets but Joe Williams cleared the ball off the line. Then, 4 minutes later, Wilson repaid the favour as he sent a lofted ball for Williams to chase, but Tibbets saved his lob attempt.

The Bluebirds continued to create chance after chance. Jack Wilson had a strike cleared off the line, again and Marcus Griffiths saw his header saved by Tibbets.

Against the run of play, Caernarfon took the lead on 74 minutes. Mendes picked up a cross at the back post and squared for Mike Hayes who couldn’t miss.

The setback didn’t deter the Bluebirds who continued to press.

In the space of a minute, Jack Wilson, Dan Summerfield and Jack Wilson all had shots blocked in the penalty area. Jack Wilson then turned provider as his long throw met the head of Sean Pemberton but his effort was over the bar.

With 94 minutes on the clock, Jack Wilson went racing down the right, squared for Danny Williams, and he did the rest from a few yards out with the final kick of the game.

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Sport

Wales gear up for Paris

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Wales face Les Bleus in Paris in what will be their first match since March.

It is one kicking and skills coach Jenkins is looking forward to.

“It is nice to be back. It has been tough since March, but to be involved now and have the boys back is great,” said the former fly-half.

“It’s doing things a little bit differently to what we are normally used to, but the boys have had a head start and been very good helping us.

“We understand what is going on, both at home and in France, and we respect that 100 per cent.

“We are there to do a job, we are there to represent our country, and I would like to think we are going to do that as best as we possibly can both on and off the pitch.

“We will adhere to everything that is required of us, hopefully play a very good game on Saturday, and do our utmost to win the Test match and try and pick the nation up.

“It’s brutal for everyone whether you are a sportsperson or a non-sportsperson. It is not an easy situation at this moment in time. I hope we can put some smiles on faces.

“We want to win, plain and simple. We have lost our last few games. We are here to play well and we are here to win Test matches.”

France got the better of Wales in the Six Nations at the start of the year before Covid-19 struck.

“It seems an incredibly long time ago. People might disagree, but for me it was a Test match I believe we should have won. We had opportunities,” Jenkins said.

“We gave probably 14 points away if I am brutally honest. We left a number of opportunities out there.”

Both sides will use the game to warm-up for their remaining Six Nations clashes and then their Autumn Nations Cup campaigns.

On questions regarding Josh Navidi’s involvement, Jenkins added: “He is going through his protocols and we will see how he goes this week and for the weeks coming up.”

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New Welsh rugby kit launched

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THE NEW Macron Wales kit, to be worn for the first time against France in Paris on October 24, has been unveiled simultaneously in the private changing rooms of the national team headquarters in Hensol and the Wales Women squad’s current base in Swansea University.

Jonathan Davies and Ross Moriarty were joined ‘virtually’ by Wales Women captain Siwan Lillicrap and Gwen Crabb to reveal the kit against a backdrop of jerseys from the community game in Wales which have also been produced by the WRU’s new official technical partner.

The launch of the new kit has taken on a post-Covid feel with both squads currently training in respective ‘bubbles’ and so the community aspect of the partnership – £1m of free kit to be supplied yearly to Welsh rugby clubs over six years – has been reflected by a display of existing Macron community rugby shirts.

A set of unique features sees the red dragon of the Welsh flag embossed across lower back of the shirt, an embossed pattern covering the sleeves – cleverly transforming the hexagonal shape of the WRU three-feathers logo into ‘dragon scales’ – and the Welsh word ANRHYDEDD (honour), also embossed, on the back of the collar.

The ‘away‘ version is a black jersey with a white v-neck collar, this time tipped with red trim that is also found on the sleeves and cuffs.

Both sleeves again feature an all over embossed pattern, but this time a geometric graphic brings a new age look to the garment.

The Welsh dragon is once again embossed on the lower back and another Welsh word, ANGERDD (passion) is embossed on the back of the collar.

“The new kit is striking representation of Welsh rugby tradition and we are delighted to be able to launch our new seven-year partnership with Macron in such a spectacular way,” said WRU CEO Steve Phillips.

“We are delighted with the bespoke kit, training and leisurewear Macron has provided so far, where Italian design meets Welsh passion with impressive results.

“And we are sure that the Welsh rugby watching public will be equally impressed when they get their hands on their favourite pieces in the expansive product range available.”

Wales Women will wear the kit in action for the first time against Scotland in their own postponed Six Nations clash on November 1 and, from next season, Macron’s affinity with Welsh rugby will increase even further when the first instalment of £6m worth of kit over six years, is supplied to the clubs in the community game throughout Wales.

“The Welsh Rugby Union represents one of the pillar stones of world rugby and for Macron to stand side by side with this sporting giant, means that we as a brand, have reached yet another great milestone,” said Macron‘s CEO Gianluca Pavanello.

“Our goal is for the new kits to be instantly recognisable and something that clearly express the Welsh identity and spirit. We hope that our hard work has paid off and that the new collection will be loved by players and fans alike and that the kits evoke the emotion that such a great nation deserves.”

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