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Wales name team for U20 Championship opener

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WALES have named their side to face Australia in this Wednesday’s (May 30) opening day of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Béziers (20:00 BST).

Cai Evans (Ospreys) starts at fullback, with Rio Dyer (Dragons) and Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets) on the wings. An all-Scarlet midfield features Ioan Nicholas at 12 and Corey Baldwin at 13, alongside a Cardiff Blues combination of fly-half Ben Jones and scrum-half Dane Blacker.

Loosehead Rhys Carre and hooker Iestyn Harris (both Cardiff Blues) are joined in the front row by tighthead Rhys Henry (Ospreys). There is considerable size in the second row, with Bath Rugby’s Rhys Davies and Dragons’ Max Williams each standing over 6’6” tall.

Blindside Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers, pictured) continues in the captaincy role he first took up during this year’s U20 Six Nations, with Dan Davis (Scarlets) and Taine Basham (Dragons) completing the energetic back row.

Three uncapped players are named on the bench: prop Rhys Davies (Scarlets), and two late call-ups to the squad in tighthead Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues) and back rower Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets).

“Selection has been very difficult, with the entire squad working hard and putting in lots of preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said head coach Geraint Lewis. “Competition for places is strong, but we’ve gone with the team which we feel is best suited to the challenge presented to us by Australia.”

“It’s quite an experienced team, with some players having enjoyed exposure to the Guinness Pro14 this year. Due to our approach during the Six Nations in giving opportunities to the entire squad, we’ve got a strong nucleus of players who are adept and happy at U20 level. Hopefully those experiences can hold them in good stead on Wednesday.”

The Junior Wallabies represent the first of three challenges in Wales’ pool, followed by New Zealand (June 3) and Japan (June 7). “Australia are a formidable rugby nation that always produce talented players,” Lewis said of a team Wales met in the pool stage last year in Georgia. “With the limited footage we’ve seen of them, we know they’re a big side, and from last year’s encounter we’re aware that they present a real challenge with ball in hand.”

Lewis accepted that the weather in the south of France might suit the Australian style of play, but insisted his team were equally looking forward to playing in such conditions. “It’s exciting for us to play southern hemisphere opposition, not least because it’s quite new for most of the squad. It’s what we’re here for: to test ourselves against the best.”

Wales U20 v Australia U20 at the Stade de la Méditerranée will be shown live on S4C, with coverage starting from 19:45 BST.

Wales U20 team to face Australia:

15 Cai Evans (Ospreys)

14 Rio Dyer (Dragons)

13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets)

12 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets)

11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)

10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues)

9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues)

1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)

2 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)

3 Rhys Henry (Ospreys)

4 Rhys Davies (Bath Rugby)

5 Max Williams (Dragons)

6 Tommy Reffell (c) (Leicester Tigers)

7 Dan Davis (Scarlets)

8 Taine Basham (Dragons)

Replacements

16 Dewi Lake (Ospreys)

17 Rhys Davies (Scarlets)

18 Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues)

19 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets)

20 Lennon Greggains (Dragons)

21 Harri Morgan (Ospreys)

22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues)

23 Joe Goodchild (Dragons)

Sport

Robins breeze past Lawrenny

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PENNAR Robins proved too strong for Lawrenny on Saturday (Oct 13) as they scored ten times to book their place in the third round of the Senior Cup.

Despite the weather conditions the Bush Camp pitch was in excellent condition and the home side dominated for large parts of the game.

Jason Donohoe had an early chance for the Robins but he sent his free kick over the bar.

Josh Clark went on a good run and burst through the challenge of a Lawrenny attacker and although the ball found the back of the net, the ball was deemed to have gone out of play before Clark put his cross in.

With nine minutes gone Donohoe found Sam Southcott but his effort was saved.

Lawrenny won a free kick and Ryan Morton sent the ball into the box which Patrick Elliot headed towards goal but Stuart James was able to make the save.

Connor Roberts then came close to scoring in spectacular fashion but his curling effort was tipped over by Lawrenny keeper Danny Harries.

Nick Willis then saw a shot saved at the front post and he then also saw an acrobatic effort saved as the Robins continued to look for the opening goal.

Harries had to be alert as Donohoe’s cross looked to be going in with the wind but on 22 minutes the Robins finally made the breakthrough.

Southcott played the ball through for Ben Adams on the left and he shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Mikey Powell crossed into the box and Southcott was in the right place at the back post to tap the ball home.

Roberts and Willis combined with a neat one-two but the former sent his effort wide of the post.

The Robins added a third on the half hour mark and they continued to show their dominance with a further seven goals.

Adams and Southcott both completed their hat tricks while Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Scott Trayhern and Luke Phillips all got on the scoresheet.

It was an excellent win for Pennar who must wait and see who they will play in the third round after other games were called off.

On Saturday (Oct 20), Lawrenny are again in cup action as they take on Hundleton in the first round of the Second Division Cup.

Pennar will return to league action as they take on local rivals Lamphey.

Pennar: Stuart James, Josh Clark, Luke Phillips, Ross Lascelles, Mikey Powell, Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Ben Adams, Sam Southcott, Jason Donohoe, Nick Willis. Subs: Jack Phillips, Rhys Lucas, Scott Trayhern.

Lawrenny: Danny Harries, Edward Merriman, James Durbridge, Adam Jenkins, Ryan Morton, Tom Lewis, Patrick Elliot, Matt Lewis, Harry Thomas, Owen James, Tom Cole. Subs: Kieron Johnson, Phil Cole, Sam Davies.

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Swifts upset the odds

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MONKTON Swifts pulled off a shock result on Saturday (Oct 13) as they beat former Senior Cup winners Goodwick United 3-2 to progress to the third round of the tournament.

Storm Callum had done its best to disrupt the football programme but the pitch in Monkton was in excellent condition.

Chris Richards scored to put the Swifts ahead and Ben Steele then slotted in a penalty to put the home side in control.

Thomas Powell scored to give Monkton a 3-0 lead and Goodwick knew they would need to play well in the second half to stand a chance of going through.

Jordan Griffiths had a chance to bring his side back into the game when he was brought down in the box and a penalty was given. However, he was unable to put the spot kick away.

Goodwick pulled a goal back early in the second half as Steven Dockerty’s shot was deflected into the net by a Monkton player.

Monkton could have scored a fourth when Steele’s cross across the face of goal just evaded everyone. Steele then also saw a shot saved by the Goodwick keeper.

Goodwick did pull a second goal back though when Lee Hudgell sent a fine long range effort into the bottom right hand corner to make it 3-2.

Griffiths came close late on with a free kick but he sent his effort wide of the post and they were unable to find a goal which would have sent the game to extra time.

It was an excellent win for the Swifts and they will now look forward to their third round tie.

Before that they will return to league action on Saturday (Oct 20) as they travel to Clarbeston Road. Goodwick will look to bounce back when they take on Milford United at Marble Hall.

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Tasker announces retirement

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OLYMPIC Bobsledder Bruce Tasker has announced his retirement from the sport after eight ‘rollercoaster years’.

The former Ysgol Greenhill pupil took to his Instagram account to share the news and he thanked those who have been involved with him throughout his career.

He said: “I have been meaning to post this for a while, but I guess I’ve been putting it off, but I have to announce that after 8 rollercoaster years in the sport of bobsleigh, I am retiring as an athlete.

“It has been a ridiculously fun few years where I’ve met and worked with some incredible people, made life-long friends, travelled to some amazing places and if I may try to be profound, grown as a person.

“There are too many people to thank in one post so I will try to keep the dust off my Instagram account and work my way through them in the next few weeks.

“But now though I must thank my Girlfriend for always supporting me and being the backbone of my career.

“Much like people to thank there are so many photos that I could post, but I will use one from where it all started, Lake Placid World Champs. We only finished 10th but it was the most important result of my career, for it was the one that allowed me to stay in the sport for 7 more years! The other handsome devils are Stu Benson, Joel Fearon, John Jackson.

“To all the selected athletes going away in a few weeks, have an amazing season, and enjoy every minute of it.”

Tasker and his team finished fifth in the Bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014 but two Russian athletes were disqualified meaning he and his teammates have been elevated to the Bronze medal position.

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