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Scintillating win sends sales soaring

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THE wow-factor woven into Wales’ dramatic NatWest 6 Nations win over Scotland at Principality Stadium on Saturday (Feb 3) has caused a significant ticket sales spike ahead of the next home clash for Warren Gatland’s side – against Italy on Sunday, March 11 (3.00pm).

Gatland must first face England tomorrow after saying ‘same again’ to the side which claimed a bonus point against the Scots and scored four tries in an impressive 34-7 victory, the second highest winning margin for Wales in the 135 year history of the fixture (the highest being the 51-3 win in 2014).

The long-serving Wales supremo has made just one change for the trip to Twickenham – to his bench where George North replaces Owen Watkin – and another big performance this weekend would surely see the remaining scarce supply of tickets to see the Azzurri in Cardiff run-out completely – with the 74,500 capacity ground already nearing capacity.

Wales’ Six Nations climax against France, on the final weekend of the Championship, is already sold-out and a trip to Ireland follows this weekend’s clash with England, so the Italy game is the last remaining chance for many to see Wales this campaign and supporters are warned to act quickly to avoid disappointment.

“We have been selling tickets at a rate of over 1,000 a-day since the performance against Scotland, more than doubling the figures of the previous week,” said a Welsh Rugby Union spokesperson.

“A limited amount of tickets are still available for the clash with Italy, priced from £20 for children or £60 for adults, and they are best accessed online at wru.wales/tickets or from your local club.

“But they are selling fast and a big performance at Twickenham on the weekend would surely see sold-out signs soon follow for Italy’s visit to Cardiff on Mothering Sunday.

“So the message is clear, if you want to see this exciting Wales side during the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, it’s still possible, but you must act quickly.”

Tickets are available now from www.wru.wales/tickets or from a rugby club near you.

A concessionary price ticket is available in Cardiff for the first time in the Championship, for the round-four meeting with the Azzurri, meaning U16s can access this game for £20.

And, in another first for the national stadium, a unique ‘curtain-raiser’ also means supporters will be treated to two-matches-for-the-price-of-one.

The event is a double-header starting with Wales Women’s Six Nations clash with Italy (which kicks off at  11.45am), with the men’s game following immediately after – making the day a must-see occasion for all the family.

Official Hospitality Packages are available from 02920 822 413 or visit www.wru.wales/hospitality and official travel packages can be purchased from the WRU’s official travel supplier, Gullivers Sports Travel by visiting www.gulliverstravel.co.uk/event/six-nations .

The WRU’s official resale marketplace, which gives clubs the opportunity to re-sell a limited selection of their allocated tickets to the general public, can also be found at www.seatwave.com/wru

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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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