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Wales to face Springboks in US capital

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WALES will face South Africa in Washington DC to kick off their 2018 summer tour it has been announced.

Warren Gatland’s side will face the Springboks in the US capital on the evening of Saturday, June 2, with the fixture taking place at Washington’s RFK Stadium.

First Minister of Wales, Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones AM, and the South African Ambassador to the United States, Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu made the announcement on Monday (Feb 26) which will see the first contest between top-tier national teams to be held in the capital.

USA Rugby’s commercial arm, Rugby International Marketing (RIM), is promoting the match and tickets will go on sale from Tuesday, March 13.

Welsh Rugby Union Group CEO, Martyn Phillips said: “This is an exciting fixture for the WRU and for the national squad. It enables us to add a third fixture into the squad’s schedule as they continue with their preparations for the 2019 RWC and for the Union it is a great opportunity to showcase Wales and our game in the capital of the United States.

“The opportunity to expand the already great Welsh support base and Welsh brand is very exciting for us as especially in such a large demographic and audience as the U.S.

“We have long standing links with the U.S. with our partner Under Armour and it is great we are able to stage a match just down the road from their main facility in Baltimore.”

“We would like to thank RIM for staging and promoting the fixture and we are looking forward to kicking off the summer tour in Washington D.C”

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “It was fantastic to be with the South African Ambassador to the US, Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, to announce this exciting fixture between our two great countries.

“Wales and the Springboks have a huge global fan base and I am confident this clash of titans at Washington’s world famous RFK stadium will help raise the profile of rugby in America. I, for one, can’t wait until June 2.”

RIM CEO David Sternberg said: “We are very pleased to be hosting this signature event in the nation’s capital in June. Not only are we bringing two established rugby nations together for an amazing match, we are also activating a large and passionate regional rugby community and accelerating the growth of the sport’s popularity in America as we head into the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July.”

It will be Wales’ fifth test on U.S soil, the previous four outings all against the USA and Gatland is pleased to have added to the summer tour schedule. “We are really pleased to add a third fixture to our summer tour schedule and we hope it will be another great test match between ourselves and the Springboks,” said the Wales head coach.

“This summer is a vital period for us as we continue the countdown to the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and another fixture helps us along the way in our preparation and enables us to test ourselves further.  It will be a great way to start the summer tour before we head further south to Argentina later in the month.”

The fixture will be the first of three summer tour tests in the Americas.  Following the game against the Springboks the squad will travel south to Argentina for two tests against the Pumas.  Those fixtures, as previously announced, will take place in San Juan (Saturday June 9) and Santa Fe (Saturday June 16).

Wales Summer Tour Fixtures 2018:

WALES v SOUTH AFRICA, RFK Stadium, Washington DC, Saturday, June 2

ARGENTINA v WALES (1st Test) Estadio San Juan Del Bicentenario, San Juan, Saturday, June 9

ARGENTINA v WALES (2nd Test) Estadio Brigadier Lopez, Santa Fe, Saturday, June 16

Sport

Bluebirds prepare for Pontypridd test

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HAVERFORDWEST County will be looking to progress to the next round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday (Dec 8), when they welcome Pontypridd Town to the Bridge Meadow.

The Bluebirds enjoyed a thrilling 4-3 win against Swansea University in the last round having previously beaten STM Sports 2-1 away from home in the first round.

They currently sit third in Welsh League Division 1 with seven wins from their ten games so far this season.

They will also be looking for another cup run having already reached the fourth round of the League Cup.

Visitors Pontypridd also enjoyed a thrilling 6-3 win in their second round game with Goytre and they also won 2-1 away from home against Llanidloes Town in the first round.

They may sit second from bottom in Division 1 of the Welsh Leagues but their cup run has shown that they should not be underestimated.

The game is a repeat of the third round tie from last year which Pontypridd won 3-1 and the Bluebirds will be looking to avenge that defeat.

This is the Bluebirds’ only home game in December so make sure you get down to the Bridge Meadow to show your support.

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Sport

Bowen wins Young Sportsman of the Year

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WELSH jockey, James Bowen, 17, has won the Carwyn James Young Sportsman of the Year Award at the Wales Sports Awards on Tuesday, December 4, at The Celtic Manor.

The Awards which are an annual amalgamation of BBC Cymru Wales and Sports Wales to make the biggest Welsh Sporting celebration of the year, it is intended to showcase the best of both elite and grassroot level of sporting achievement.

Speaking to James on his award he said: “It came as a bit of a shock to me, I didn’t realise I had done that well this year”.

Bowen, who has been racing for the past 18 months, at just 16 became the youngest rider to win the Coral Welsh Grand National in 2018 on Raz De Maree. He is no stranger when it comes to awards, recently collecting the Rising Star Award at the inaugural Welsh Horse Racing Awards at Chepstow Racecourse.

On his Rising Star Award James said: “It was exciting to win this award as it’s the first time these awards have been done at the racecourse”.

On his recent career highlights James added: “I would like to thank everybody who has worked with me over the years, and all the trainers who have helped me get here.”

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Sport

A celebration of sport

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INSPIRATIONAL achievements in sport by were celebrated in the prestigious Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 on Friday evening.

Fourteen award-winners were announced in a variety of categories, together with the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award.

Now in its 12th year, the gala ceremony at Folly Farm was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cllr Huw George and organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, the sport development team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

The event was sponsored by Valero, Sport Pembrokeshire, Western Telegraph, Radio Pembrokeshire and Folly Farm.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Peter and Karen Bowen described by Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Wales, as a couple ‘at the forefront of British horse racing’.

Presenting them with their award, he said: “Peter and Karen Bowen have transformed a bungalow and a few fields into one of the best yards in the United Kingdom. Their complex at Letterston now boasts over seventy boxes and state-of-the-art all weather facilities.

“But team Bowen is very much a family outfit. Karen was no stranger to the show ring, and is a former champion point-to-pointer. Eldest son Mickey has built a reputation as a successful point-to-point trainer; and Sean and James are both professional jockeys. James became the youngest ever winner of the Welsh Grand National this year, aged just 16.

“They achieved a clean sweep at the recent inaugural Welsh Racing Awards – when Peter won the Welsh Trainer of the Year award; Sean picked up the Welsh Jockey of the Year award and James was honoured as the Rising Star of the Year.

“Incredibly, the stable is now on the verge of achieving a thousand winners.”

The Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, was presented to 27-year-old footballer Kristian Speake from Crundale.

“The Award is given to a sportsman or woman who has overcome great adversity – and tonight’s winner is certainly no exception,” said Cllr Aden Brinn, Chairman.

“Kristian played for Haverfordwest AFC until last February when he was grievously injured in an incident in the town which resulted in a serious injury to his skull.

“He was in a coma for 24 days in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff before being placed on a neurological ward for several weeks.

“Kristian then spent a further six weeks in a special unit in Port Talbot where he underwent extensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. During this time, he had three eye operations as well as brain surgery in which surgeons fitted a titanium plate in the right side of his head.

“However, there is a happy ending. Though his determination and the support of his family and friends, Kristian has made a miraculous recovery and completed the Cardiff half marathon in October, raising money for the Cardiff and Vale Health Charity as a thank you to all the medical staff involved in his treatment.”

Ben Field, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all the winners, finalists and nominees, and said he was very grateful to the sponsors for their support.

“We received more nominations than ever before this year – 192 – which is a brilliant reflection on how sport is growing and thriving across the county,” he said.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, added his congratulations and said: “The Sports Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the amazing achievements of sportspeople across Pembrokeshire, and the very hard work that takes place behind the scenes.

Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 – Winners

Coach of the Year

Simon Roach (Weightlifting)

Female Sporting Achievement

Caryl Jones (Athletics)

Male Sporting Achievement

Seth Morris (Surfing)

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Alex O’Sullivan (Boxing)

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Ella Wintle (Athletics)

Disability Sport Award

Ryan Foot (Rugby)

Junior (U16) Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice (WCMX – Wheelchair Motocross)

Unsung Hero

William McGarvie (Neyland Judo Club)

Club Organiser of the Year

Kathy Hicks (Narberth Netball Club)

Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Cricket Club 1st XI 2017/2018

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Sir Thomas Picton Inclusive Zone Basketball Team 2018

Contribution to School Sport award

Alfie Wheeler (Haverfordwest High VC School)

Student Contribution to School Sport award

Nichola Hayton (Platinum Young Ambassador)

Club of the Year

Strength Academy Wales

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter and Karen Bowen (Horse racing)

Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Kristian Speake (Football)

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