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Women’s team named for England showdown

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WALES have named their team for this Saturday’s visit to the Twickenham Stoop to face England in the Women’s Six Nations (12:15).

Experienced duo Elinor Snowsill (fullback) and Sioned Harries (number eight), fresh from their outing in the Super 7s Rugby competition in Brisbane, come straight into the starting line-up. Harries will earn her 50th cap when she takes to the field at the home of the English Premiership’s Harlequins.

Harries’ return sees Siwan Lillicrap move up from the back row to lock, whilst Rhiannon Parker is named at scrum-half. Utility back Hannah Jones takes her place on the bench after also competing in Australia.

Wales started this year’s Women’s Six Nations campaign with a tense victory against Scotland which went right down the wire. It was a composed performance which earned the praise of head coach Rowland Phillips. “It was a strong team effort, full of heart,” Phillips says. “To play the way they did in the first match of the competition, absorbing a lot of pressure from the Scots, was very impressive for a young team.”

They will hope to put in a good show this Saturday against tournament favourites England, whom Phillips earlier in the week suggested were aiming for a repeat of last year’s Grand Slam.

“England are a strong and settled team, who have already made a statement with a powerful, impressive win in Italy, but we need to focus on our game and build on a promising performance in Colwyn Bay,” says Phillips. “It’s up to us to learn from past experiences and show that we can continue to grow as a team.

“It’ll be a step up again for us this weekend at the Stoop. We know that. We’re really excited for the challenge and that’s been reflected in the way we’ve trained this week.”

Wales Women team to face England

15 Elinor Snowsill (Dragons)

14 Hannah Bluck (Cardiff Blues)

13 Kerin Lake (Ospreys)

12 Rebecca De Filippo (Dragons)

11 Jess Kavanagh-Williams (RGC)

10 Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys)

9 Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues)

1 Caryl Thomas (Scarlets)

2 Carys Phillips (Ospreys) (c)

3 Amy Evans (Ospreys)

4 Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)

5 Mel Clay (Ospreys)

6 Alisha Butchers (Scarlets)

7 Beth Lewis (Scarlets)

8 Sioned Harries (Scarlets)

Replacements

16 Kelsey Jones (Ospreys)

17 Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC)

18 Cerys Hale (Dragons)

19 Natalia John (Ospreys)

20 Nia Elen Davies (Scarlets)

21 Jade Knight (Scarlets)

22 Lleucu George (Scarlets)

23 Hannah Jones (Scarlets)

Sport

Antwhistle praises Pembrokeshire’s best

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GRAEME ANTWHISTLE, Head Coach of Swim Wales visited Pembrokeshire County Swimming for a two day review of their development pathway on Thursday (Feb 7) and Friday (Feb 9).

Swim Wales work closely with their Regional Development Centres where Antwhistle has a critical friend role towards supporting Pembrokeshire Head Coach Craig Nelson and his Assistant Sam Jones who are working with the best swimmers in Pembrokeshire.

The overall aim is one of driving forward a pathway for producing success on the international stage, with the Governing Body offering opportunities to all swimmers in the Principality to reach that goal.

Pembrokeshire County is an integral cog in this wheel where swimmers in the National Performance squad and National Development squad are on his radar and from his recent visit he commented, “I’m impressed with the progress with swimmers from Pembrokeshire, where it was a noted success their performances at the Swim Wales Welsh Winter Open.”

Prior to taking up his position with Swim Wales Antwhistle was High Performance Coach for British Swimming based at Bath National Centre, an impressive credential for a man who has been coaching for over two decades.

Antwhistle has guided athletes such as Michael Jamieson, Jazz Carlin, Siobhan O’Connor and Andrew Willis to a combined 5 Olympic silver medals, attending high profile events on behalf of Great Britain at the European Youth Olympic Games, European Junior Championships, World Junior Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games.

Antwhistle has an abundance of skills, knowledge and a positive personality where his enthusiasm rubs off on swimmers, coaches and parents as Swim Wales strive to develop their performance pathway for clubs and coaches.

Antwhistle went on to say: “The progress of Pembrokeshire swimmers is clearly visible from when I last visited in November; credit to the squad for taking on board the messages of both support and challenges that I have set them as they are responding.

“If they can see the progress within their training and recognise what they are doing well whilst also having an objective view of the areas they need to improve, then they can believe in themselves to deliver the performance they deserve at next month’s Easter National championships.”

The Pembrokeshire squads have the support of a volunteer committee, headed by Chairman Paul Hayley (Tenby Dolphins), who works closely with the coaching team, Swim Wales and Pembrokeshire Leisure who are funding partners in the initiative.

Recent developments have seen the swimmers working under the guidance of Strength and Academy Wales and Claire Davies [Physiologist] to provide the best opportunity for achieving success.

Antiwhistle concluded: “The biggest challenge is to maintain focus as all of the ten performance clubs in Wales are now receiving this level of support and we are aiming for the sport to become ever more competitive.”

With Swimming on such a high in the County, the performance programme is attracting swimmers who weren’t previously based in the County which shows there is no better time to join the umbrella pathway for swimming.

Young people, after completing Wave 6 of the Learn to Swim programme can join one of six development clubs (Pembroke & District; Tenby Dolphin; Haverfordwest Seals; Milford Tigers; Fishguard Flyers and Preseli Panthers) and could then progress to the Performance Squads and possibly International success.

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Sport

Biggar, Williams and Halfpenny in Wales team to face Ireland

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WALES have made three changes to their starting XV to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (KO 14.15) with British & Irish Lions trio Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny all returning to the side.

Biggar has recovered from a shoulder injury to make his 61st appearance for his country and will line up alongside Gareth Davies at half-back.

Halfpenny and Williams join Steff Evans in the back-three with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams continuing their partnership in the midfield.

Wales have named an unchanged pack for the trip to Dublin.  The all-Scarlets front-row of Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee feature for a third consecutive game.  Cory Hill partners captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row with Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty comprising the back-row.

“It is great to be able to bring so much experience back into the starting XV and into the backline,” said head coach Warren Gatland, who will take charge of Wales for the 100th time.

“It is the first week we have had everyone in the ‘green’ in terms of availability which is a nice luxury to have and a positive ahead of what is a very important test match against a very good Ireland side.

“We have been pleased with the depth we have developed in the back-three and pleased with how those players have gone but having the experience of Dan, Liam and Leigh coming back in is hugely important.

“We have been pleased with how the forward pack has been going and how they have worked as a unit but as always there is pressure for them to perform too.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis are named as the front-row replacements with Bradley Davies and Justin Tipuric completing the forward contingent.  Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe and George North provide the back-line cover.

Wales Team to play Ireland:

Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (75 Caps)

Liam Williams (Saracens) (45 Caps)

Scott Williams (Scarlets) (53 Caps)

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (3 Caps)

Steff Evans (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (60 Caps)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (29 Caps)

Rob Evans (Scarlets) (22 Caps)

Ken Owens (Scarlets) (54 Caps)

Samson Lee (Scarlets) (35 Caps)

Cory Hill (Dragons) (12 Caps)

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (115 Caps) CAPT

Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (15 Caps)

Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (9 Caps)

Ross Moriarty (Gloucester) (19 Caps)

Replacements:

Elliot Dee (Dragons) (4 Caps)

Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (28 Caps)

Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (59 Caps)

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (54 Caps)

Aled Davies (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)

George North (Northampton Saints) (70 Caps)

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Sport

Swimming Club fly the flag at National Urdd Finals

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LOCAL swimmers from Pembroke & District Swimming Club came out in force to represent Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest and Pembroke Comprehensive School in the annual Urdd National Swimming Gala.

The competition took place on Sunday (Jan 13) at Cardiff International Pool where Pembrokeshire County swimmers raced against the best swimmers across the country, with Pembroke and & District S.C. as one of six development clubs working in an umbrella pathway of Pembrokeshire County Swimming Performance Pathway.

Sam Jones Assistant Coach County coach expressed his delight saying: “It’s great to see Pembrokeshire swimmers representing their local schools at the URDD finals in Cardiff, not only is it great acknowledgment for swimmers individually, but most important to showcase the schools for their support in to the pupils education and sporting achievements.”

The Pembrokeshire swimming pathway is designed to capture children who start the sport with Pembrokeshire Leisure Learn-to-swim, joining Development clubs like Pembroke & District to progress to the Performance squads under the coaching of Jones and the County Head coach Craig nelson.

The county swimmers are performing well at regional and national level to take the county to new heights, as shown by the performance of Pembrokeshire in the Urdd gala.

Jones concluded by urging swimmers to get involved saying: “Swimmers should get involved with their local club, to be part of the success at national level, representing your school and enjoying the sport with friends.”

Results:

Charlie Shiels (Pembroke): 100m Breast stroke (Bronze) 200IM (Finalist)

Lauren Omnet (Pembroke) 100m Breast stroke (Finalist)

Arron Fitzsimmons (STP) 100m Backstroke (Finalist), 50m Butterfly (Finalist): Relay (200m Freestyle) Silver; Relay (200m Medley) Gold

Rosie Llewellyn (Pembroke ) 100m Breast stroke (Silver)

Hannah Greenwood, Ben Hilary, Charlie Shiels, Lena Hughes (Pembroke) 200m Mixed relay: Silver Mixed relay team events and obtained silver medals (Pictured).

Taylor Wilson (Pembroke) 200IM (Finalist)

Primary School

Callum Keane Boys under 10 25m Freestyle (Finalist)

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