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Wales name team to face Scotland

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WALES have named their side to take on Scotland in their opening NatWest 6 Nations encounter on Saturday with Josh Adams set to make his debut on the wing.

The 22-year-old, who has scored 13 tries for Worcester this season, will earn his first cap at Principality Stadium and joins six Scarlets across the back-line.

Leigh Halfpenny and Steff Evans complete the back-three alongside Adams with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams partnering in the midfield. Rhys Patchell and Gareth Davies take their regional partnership onto the international stage.

Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee pack down together with Cory Hill named alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row.

Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi, who started alongside each other three times in the autumn, start with British & Irish Lion Ross Moriarty at number eight.

“The first-up game against Scotland this weekend is really important for us and this is a great chance for this group of players to get us off to a good start” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We have been watching Josh (Adams) closely, he is top try scorer in the English Premiership and has been going well and we are excited for him.

“Both Rhys (Patchell) and Gareth (Anscombe) have been training really well over the last couple of weeks.  It was a tough call between them, Rhys has started most of his games for the Scarlets at ten, we are really happy with his form and the combination with Gareth at nine.

“We know what a quality player Ross is, it’s great he is back and available and we are looking forward to seeing his explosive ball carrying on Saturday.

“For this opening game, we looked at a lot of combinations, especially the front-row.  It is exciting to see Samson back playing well and the familiarity of the Scarlets front-row will be important.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis provide the front-row cover on the bench with Ospreys duo Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric completing the forward contingent.  Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe and Owen Watkin provide the back-line cover.

Wales Team To Play Scotland (Saturday, February 3, KO 14.15)

Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (74 Caps)

Josh Adams (Worcester) (*UNCAPPED)

Scott Williams (Scarlets) (51 Caps)

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (1 Cap)

Steff Evans (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (27 Caps)

Rob Evans (Scarlets) (20 Caps)

Ken Owens (Scarlets) (52 Caps)

Samson Lee (Scarlets) (34 Caps)

Cory Hill (Dragons) (10 Caps)

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (113 Caps) CAPT

Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (13 Caps)

Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (7 Caps)

Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (17 Caps)

Replacements:

Elliot Dee (Dragons) (2 Caps)

Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (26 Caps)

Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (57 Caps)

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)  (52 Caps)

Aled Davies (Scarlets) (5 Caps)

Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)

Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (2 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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