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Wales Team to face Australia

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CAPTAIN Alun Wyn Jones will lead Wales in their opening 2017 Under Armour Series encounter with Australia at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, November 11, KO 5.15pm.

Jones is one of seven returning British & Irish Lions to line-up in the starting XV for the clash against the Wallabies, alongside Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.

Three players will make their home debut at Principality Stadium, Owen Williams and Steff Evans in the backline and flanker Josh Navidi.

Captain Jones will pack down alongside Jake Ball in the second-row, behind a front-row of Rob Evans, Owens and Tomas Francis.

Aaron Shingler and Navidi – who both featured in the two Test victories over Tonga and Samoa in the summer – start in the back-row alongside Faletau.

Gareth Davies partners Biggar at halfback with Williams named at inside centre alongside Davies.

Evans, who scored two tries for Wales in his last outing against Samoa, is part of a back-three alongside Williams and full-back Halfpenny.

Three uncapped players have been named on the bench: Dragons prop Leon Brown and Ospreys duo Sam Cross and Owen Watkin. Kristian Dacey and Nicky Smith make up the front-row replacements alongside Brown with Cory Hill completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies and Hallam Amos join Watkin as the backline replacements.

“We are really looking forward to Saturday and getting the Under Armour Series underway,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“I’m delighted for Steff Evans, Owen Williams and Josh Navidi that they get their first start at home, the atmosphere will be fantastic and it’s a great opportunity for them.

“It’s going to be a tough first up game, we know that and we need to be up and running.  We have a squad that’s packed with talent and is on form and we are excited to see what they can do.”

Wales Team To Play Australia (Saturday, November 11, KO 5.15pm)

  1. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (71 Caps)
  2. Liam Williams (Saracens) (43 Caps)
  3. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (64 Caps)
  4. Owen Williams (Gloucester) (1 Cap)
  5. Steff Evans (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
  6. Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (56 Caps)
  7. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
  8. Rob Evans (Scarlets) (17 Caps)
  9. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (50 Caps)
  10. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (23 Caps)
  11. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
  12. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (Ospreys) (110 Caps)
  13. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (10 Caps)
  14. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
  15. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (66 Caps)

REPLACEMENTS:

  1. Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues) (4 Caps)
  2. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
  3. Leon Brown (Dragons) (*UNCAPPED)
  4. Cory Hill (Dragons) (6 Caps)
  5. Sam Cross (Ospreys) (*UNCAPPED)
  6. Aled Davies (Scarlets) (2 Caps)
  7. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (*UNCAPPED)
  8. Hallam Amos (Dragons) (11 Caps)

News

Nigel Owens hosts virtual rugby quiz for Pembroke Panthers

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PEMBROKE Panthers RFC enjoyed a rugby return during lockdown after winning a competition which saw international referee Nigel Owens host their own virtual clubhouse quiz, thanks to Principality Building Society.

The women’s squad at the Pembroke club beat more than 1000 entries to win Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz competition. With many clubs affected by widespread flooding at the start of this year and now closed indefinitely due to coronavirus, the building society is continually looking for ways to support grassroots rugby clubs in Wales.

Pembroke Panther Lucy Neale, 30, entered her team with the hope of bringing the players together online. She said: “We’d usually see each other up to five times a week between training sessions, matches and socials, so it’s been a really strange time. I thought I’d enter the club thinking it would be a nice pick-me-up for us all, but never actually expected to win so it was an amazing surprise.”

The team were tested on their rugby knowledge by world cup referee Nigel Owens over video conferencing platform Zoom, where players won tickets to Welsh internationals at Principality Stadium, signed rugby shirts and balls, and tickets for a tour around Principality Stadium. The quiz included a guest appearance from former Welsh international Tom Shanklin.

Lucy continued: “It was such a memorable and special evening for us all. We’re usually quite a lively bunch but we behaved well for Nigel. We’re so thankful to Principality for putting on the quiz and allowing us to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience as a team.”

As sponsors of Principality Stadium and the National Youth Leagues for grassroots clubs in Wales, Principality has a strong relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and knows how much rugby means to communities across the country. With matches on hold currently, the building society wanted to be able to bring the buzz of the clubhouse to the home.

Clubhouse Quiz host, Nigel Owens, said: “Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz was a fantastic way to bring one team closer together and Pembroke Panthers really showed off their rugby knowledge. Rugby plays such an important role in Welsh communities and I know they’ll be missing the action on the field right now, so it was lovely to have been part of this experience to bring this team together. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sin bin any of them either.”

Julie-Ann Haines, Chief Customer Officer at Principality Building Society, said: “Many rugby clubs across Wales have had a really difficult year, with flood damage to pitches and clubhouses now followed by coronavirus. This was our chance to recreate the camaraderie of the clubhouse for one team and we hope that it brought plenty of laughs and memorable moments for Pembroke Panthers at this challenging time.”

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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