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Pivac is Gatland’s successor

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THE current Scarlets boss will take over from Warren Gatland, who is scheduled to step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup when he will have served more than 12 years at the helm.

Replacing the longest serving and most successful head coach in the history of the game in Wales has been a major priority for Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips since Gatland confirmed his decision to move on at the end of his contract in December 2019.

Pivac’s appointment is the result of a two year process undertaken by Phillips and WRU chairman Gareth Davies, which has involved meticulous research and extensive consultation, and this announcement leaves a year-long gap ahead of his start date, by design.

The 55-year-old former Fiji and Auckland boss – and one-time coaching colleague to both Graham Henry and Steve Hansen – will remain at the 2017 Guinness Pro12 winning Scarlets for the entirety of the 2018/19 season and will only officially come under WRU employment in July 2019.

Gatland, of course, continues in exclusive charge of Wales up to and throughout the RWC, but arrangements for a smooth handover can now be planned in earnest, with the distraction of speculation entirely removed.

“In Wayne Pivac, we have secured the best man for the job and we have done so rigorously and decisively to the collective benefit of all involved in Welsh rugby,” said Phillips.

“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for their support of this process and their chairman, Nigel Short, in particular who has been first class throughout.

“Both Wayne and Warren and their coaching teams, our international players, supporters and everyone at the Scarlets now have clarity and there is no underestimating the positive benefit to be gained from having the time to plan properly for the future.

“We have avoided the feeding frenzy that can come at the end of a RWC year and we have been meticulous in ensuring we have someone of the talent, experience, charisma and rugby acumen to do the very best possible job for Welsh rugby. The handover process is something we will plan carefully and commence in detail next summer.

“And, for the Scarlets, what coach, whether they are in Wales or anywhere around the rugby playing world, would not relish the opportunity to join a team of such rich history and proven professionalism?

“I would like to think that given the heritage of the Scarlets, their culture, passionate supporters, their track record of success and the quality of their squad that the head coach position will be one of the most sought after in rugby.

“In the meantime, it is vitally important that there are no distractions for Warren, his backroom team and his players and it is equally necessary that Wayne is able to concentrate exclusively on the Scarlets’ progression throughout the season ahead.”

Pivac will be the 23rd man to lead Wales since David Nash was appointed head coach in 1967 – a WRU panel of selectors ran the international teams before that time.

“It’s both a huge honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the next Wales coach,” said Pivac, whose impressive coaching CV includes a hat-trick of NPC titles with Auckland, before being voted New Zealand coach of the year in 2003, an international stint with Fiji – where he won the Pacific Tri-Nations (’04) and the 2005 RWC Sevens – and lifting the Guinness Pro12 trophy with the Scarlets in 2017.

“I know I’m following in the footsteps of someone who is held in extremely high regard, not only by the Welsh public, but also by the players who have played under him and I will be doing my best to protect the legacy which Warren Gatland, with the help of those players, will inevitably leave behind.

“What Martyn Phillips has achieved here is fairly unique in world sport, I have a further 12 months to dedicate my time to the Scarlets and, in the background, the necessary plans and preparations can be put in place to ensure a smooth transition after the World Cup.

“To be able to complete the process this far in advance helps the Scarlets, helps Wales and affords me the luxury of time in which to prepare in earnest for one of the biggest jobs in the world game.

“I’ll do everything in my power to reward the two men alongside me here today (Gareth Davies and Martyn Phillips) who have put their faith in me, but also to live up to the expectations of the hugely passionate and knowledgeable rugby loving Welsh public.

“It will be an almighty challenge, but one that I’m more than ready for and one that I will relish.”

WRU chairman Gareth Davies said: “You only have to look at the way the Scarlets play and their recent achievements to get excited about the prospect of Wayne Pivac coaching Wales.

“We have undertaken a hugely thorough process to make this appointment, it has been more than two years in the making and we were both impressed by Wayne throughout and by the variety of his accomplishments during a lengthy career in coaching.

“Wayne will bring the holistic approach to the job we are looking for and will be immediately ready to pick up where Warren leaves off – he offers the complete package and we are delighted to have secured his services.”

The finer details of Pivac’s transition period to Wales, succession planning at the Scarlets and the make-up of his backroom staff, will begin to be ironed out post-Wayne’s Scarlets responsibilities, with no further announcements on any of these subjects to be expected before next summer.

Pivac’s full and immediate attention will return to the Scarlets and the season ahead, with the confirmation of his appointment as the next coach of Wales being accompanied by the full backing of his current employers.

“We see Wayne’s appointment as a major and significant endorsement of the successful environment we have fostered here at the Scarlets,” said the Scarlets General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels.

“We have been involved with this process at every stage alongside the WRU and are particularly grateful to have a full season to now work on our own succession planning for Wayne’s departure.   Obviously we are sad to see him go, but we would not, for one second, have considered standing in his way when the country came calling and our focus is on ensuring his final season in charge sees him go out on a high as we continue to plan for the future.”

Gatland is also focussing on the here and now, but the man who has won two Grand Slams, reached a Rugby World Cup semi-final and will have led Wales on more than 120 occasions by the end of his third RWC campaign in 2019, is delighted with his countryman’s appointment.

“I would like to congratulate Wayne on the appointment and the honour of being named head coach,” added Gatland.

“Martyn and Gareth have been meticulous in their search and once they decided who the best man for the job was, they have signed him up, putting any speculation to rest.

“From a Wales squad perspective, that’s all we can ask for, we can now focus on the challenge ahead and continue to build for RWC 2019 without any distractions.

“The World Cup is a key focus and Wayne’s early appointment will help us keep that focus. Additionally I’m determined to ensure that Wayne is given the best possible opportunity to succeed in this job when he starts after the World Cup and I will do everything I can to help him.

“With the announcement now public we can plan properly and ensure smooth transition to benefit the future of Welsh rugby.”

Sport

Hook face Kilgetty in Under 11s final

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THE Pembroke County Cricket Junior League Under 11s final takes place tonight (Jul 22) and will see Hook take on Kilgetty.

Both sides played their respective semi-finals last week which saw Hook beat Llechryd while Kilgetty beat Neyland.

The Under 11s final takes place in Hook and starts at 6pm.

Hook too good for Llechryd

Hook U11s (310-7) beat Llechryd U11s (276-1)

ON a perfect evening in West Wales, both teams played out a tremendous game of cricket and demonstrated excellent skill with bat and ball. Llechryd fielded a young, talented side after skipper Ifan won the toss and decided to have a bowl first.

The decision paid dividends as Ellis took a double-wicket maiden with his first over. He clean bowled the Hook openers, Dylan James (11 runs) with the first ball of the match and followed up with another clean bowled in the same over, dismissing Manny Davies (12 runs), returning figures of 2 for 19 off 2.

Not to be outdone, Flo (1-19) took a wicket with his first ball, before Manny Davies and Dylan James steadied the ship to get Hook back in to positive figures with some excellent stroke play including 6 boundaries between them.

As the dark clouds above looked ominous, this was the calm before the storm. Callum Nutty (7 runs) and Oscar Willington entered proceedings with the later amassing 41 runs off just 15 balls, including five 4s and three 6s – one of the 6s almost landed in the adjacent school playground, a huge hit at any age level of Cricket.

This partnership of 48 runs propelled Hook to a decent total halfway through their innings. Delme (2-11) bowled exceptionally well, with disciplined line and length, pressuring the Hook batsmen into a second run that was almost on, until some sharp fielding by Llechryd denied them.

Delme gathered the ball well from the throw and took the bails off with ease.

It should be mentioned at this point that all the Llechryd players fielded tremendously well with some excellent ground fielding, taking their catches and backing-up making sure any wayward throws were gathered.

With the scoreboard ticking over nicely, William Harries (23) and Dylan Goodridge (6) kept the momentum up, adding 35 runs between them. William Harries in fine form once again, nudged the ball into the gaps for three 4s, before effortlessly placing the ball straight down the ground for a maximum.

Dexter kept nagging away at off-stump and eventually got his reward, bowling Harries off the last ball of his over, returning figures of 1 for 18 off 2. A quick change of personnel behind the stumps, saw Ifan have a bowl at the last pair of Hook batsmen.

Ifan bowled with a lot of skill and excellent technique, only allowing the batsmen to nudge him for a few singles and one boundary in his spell of 1 for 7 off 2. Jack Thomas (3) and Rhys Phelps (16) added 13 vital runs at the end as Llechryd picked up 2 wickets, with Delme once again showing his class by bowling Thomas with the last ball of the innings.

The Llechryd openers, comprising of Ifan (8) and Japp (14) got off to a flyer, adding 21 off their first 4 overs. Oscar Willington bowled with excellent control and pace, taking the only wicket of the Llechryd innings, returning figures of 1 for 4 off 2.

Ellis (4) and Delme continued to build on the great start and between them added 27 vital runs, with the later scoring 20 runs, including four 4s. At the halfway stage of the Llechryd innings they were on track to pass Hooks final score.

However, although no wickets fell, the Hook bowling trio of Rhys Phelps, Jack Thomas and Dylan Goodridge bowled with discipline and control, only allowing 17 runs during the third pairing. Evan (9) and Dexter (3) played with a straight bat and defended their wickets well.

With the batting side requiring 46 runs to win from the final pair, once again the Hook bowlers showed a lot of mettle, restricting Llechryd to just 11 runs from 4 overs. Callum Nutty bowled the innings only maiden over with some recently acquired wrist spin deliveries (obviously doesn’t get that from his Dad!) and once again Jack Thomas bowled superbly well going for 1 run off the penultimate over of the match.

It was down to Manny Davies, the youngest player in the Hook team to bowl the final over. He grasped the responsibility with both hands and showed real maturity to get the job done. The last pair of Flo (4) and Osian (7) fought to the end, defended their wickets well, but eventually came up short of the total.

Llechryd demonstrated that they are certainly a team to watch out for over the next few seasons with so many young talented players coming through.

Credit to Jonny Lewis for his coaching efforts and it was a pleasure to be part of such a great game of cricket played in great spirit.

The players even enjoyed homemade cakes, biscuits, cookies and gallons of squash at halftime.

Good luck to Hook in the Final, who will be looking to right a few wrongs after losing out to Lawrenny last season.

Well done to all involved with Junior Cricket this season in Pembrokeshire, without dedicated volunteers the kids would not have all these fantastic opportunities to express themselves through the medium of sport.

Kilgetty hold off Neyland

Kilgetty 265-5 beat Neyland 211-4

A SUNNY evening at Kilgetty Cricket Club was the perfect venue for Monday’s under 11’s semi-final between the home team, Kilgetty, and their visitors Neyland, in a sixteen over match.

Kilgetty came into the game full of confidence having won all six of their group games and started well with Kiaran and Lewis hitting 13 runs off the opening two overs. Neyland fought back hard though, and some accurate bowling saw them take five quick wickets to leave Kilgetty with a disappointing total of 221 at the halfway stage.

Euan and Morgan took the field next and steadied the ship by adding another 15 runs with no further losses.

Then a hugely important last pairing saw Madoc snatch lots of quick singles whilst Logan went for the boundary with a series of powerful strikes. The result was an extra 29 runs in four overs giving Kilgetty a very respectable total of 265.

After a short break and a well-earned burger from the barbecue, both teams took to the field again. Neyland began with a couple of strong pairings and quickly piled on the runs.

Euan took one wicket and Morgan grabbed two more to peg them back slightly but after nine overs Neyland were on 245 and well ahead of where Kilgetty had been at the same stage.

The visitors score could have been even higher had it not been for some excellent wicket keeping from Dylan who kept the run rate down, refusing to let a ball get past his gloves.

Then, just as the large crowd of home supporters were starting to fear the worst, a fabulous spell of bowling from Jamie and Kiaran saw the game turn on its head. A stunning five wicket haul in three overs left Neyland in disarray as the Kilgetty boys leaped around the field in joy.

From that point on there was only going to be one winner and Kilgetty produced a ruthless finish. Logan dismissed three opponents in a single over and Kiaran and Jamie picked up a couple more to finish things off in style and secure a win by 54 runs.

Overall it was a fabulous team effort and Kilgetty take a deserved place in the final.

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Sport

Neyland win Duggie Morris

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NEYLAND once again claimed the Duggie Morris Cup as they beat Lawrenny by seven wickets in the final on Sunday (Jul 21).

A good crowd gathered at Oatfield Park in Burton and they saw the top two teams in Division 1 put on an exciting game.

At the interval, Neyland held a 13-run lead and they then bowled Lawrenny out to set themselves 104 to win.

Ashley Sutton and Andrew Miller were the heroes for Neyland as they saw them to their target and afterwards, Nick Koomen was named as man of the match.

Neyland decided to bowl first on winning the toss and that proved to be a good decision as Henry Durrant had Harry Thomas caught by Andrew Miller for a duck.

Kurtis Marsh got the scoreboard ticking but after he reached a score of 20, he was caught by Patrick Bellerby off the bowling of Miller.

Bellerby then took a superb catch on the boundary to give Patrick Hannon his first wicket and, more importantly, dismiss Brad McDermott-Jenkins.

That left Lawrenny on 41-3 but James Phillips and Steve Lewis shared 90 runs to give their side a decent first innings total.

Lewis finished unbeaten on 38 while James Phillips hit seven fours and two sixes in his score of 68 not out.

That saw Lawrenny to their total of 131-3 and they very nearly picked up a wicket as Neyland began their reply.

Koomen edged behind but keeper James Phillips could not take the catch.

He and Bellerby went on to share 47 runs for the first wicket but Koomen was then bowled by Jamie Lewis on a score of 37.

Bellerby and Ashley Sutton then shared 68 runs for the second wicket but Brad McDermott-Jenkins struck as he bowled Bellerby on a score of 47.

Lawrenny began to hit back as Henry Durrant was trapped leg before by Ryan Morton and the same bowler then had Nathan Banner caught by Joe Kidney.

Sutton finished unbeaten on 34 as Neyland reached 144-5 in their first twenty overs, giving them a 13-run lead at tea.

Lawrenny knew they would need to bat well to set Neyland a challenging target and they made a good start as openers Harry Thomas and Kurtis Marsh shared 54 runs for the first wicket.

Marsh made his way to a score of 23 but he then hit the ball to Geraint Rees off the bowling of Patrick Hannon.

Thomas was then bowled by Andrew Miller on a score of 24 and Hannon then had Brad McDermott-Jenkins caught by Nick Koomen.

Nick Koomen dives forward to take a catch

Hannon then had Ryan Morton caught by brother Sean who then stumped Thomas Cole to give Patrick his third wicket.

Nick Koomen then bowled Joe Kidney for a score of 20 and with the last two balls of the same over he bowled James Phillips and had Rob Williams caught by Sean Hannon for a golden duck.

With the first ball of his next over he had bowled James Buckle to claim an excellent hat trick.

Steve Lewis made a late score of 18 before he was caught by Koomen off the bowling of Nathan Banner but Lawrenny were bowled out for 117.

That meant they Neyland would need just 105 to win but Lawrenny made the breakthrough early on as Jamie Lewis bowled Patrick Bellerby.

Koomen made a score of 18 but he was then caught by James Phillips off the bowling of Jamie Lewis and when Brad McDermott-Jenkins bowled Nathan Banner, Lawrenny had hope with Neyland on 47-3.

However, Neyland had other ideas as Ashley Sutton and Andrew Miller steered their side towards victory.

Miller finished unbeaten on 30 while Sutton was not out on 36 as Neyland won the Duggie Morris for the sixth time in seven years.

Afterwards, Pembroke County Cricket Club Chairman Paul Webb thanked Burton for hosting the final as well as the scorers, umpires, sponsors and press and praised both teams for putting on an excellent final.

Speaking to the Herald, Neyland Captain Sean Hannon said: “Obviously delighted with the win, although we’ve won it a few times recently we don’t get bored of winning.

“Lawrenny are a good side so we were wary of the their threat. Being experienced in finals helped us I think as we knew how to handle the occasion, our players once again stood up in a big game.

“We fielded really well all day and that together with our running between the wickets was a big factor in the win. Lawrenny did well to restrict us to a 13 run lead as we were heading for a 20-30 run advantage so credit to them for that.

“The third innings was always going to be key and although their openers started well once the first wicket fell we knew we had to keep the pressure on and we did as the bowers done their job to leave us with a getable target.”

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Sport

Insport award for Rowing Club

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WISEMANS Bridge Rowing Club has gained the Insport Bronze award.

The insport programme – designed by Disability Sport Wales – supports clubs in developing inclusive provision, opportunity and practices which ensure that disabled people gain access to the level of participation and performance they require.

The club offers sea rowing and began its insport journey in 2015 by completing numerous Community Chest applications.

The club formed a link to a community disability sports group run by the local Rotary club and, after discussions with Angela Miles at Pembrokeshire County Council, it was decided to contribute to the sessions by offering indoor rowing.

Members have truly bought in to the insport vision and the community ethos it has produced.

The work with insport has also allowed the club to develop its in-house training with three members now fully qualified British Rowing coaches.

It has resulted in the formation of the Tenderfoot insport rowing crew, a group aged 18 to 60 with varying levels of physical and intellectual impairments.

The Tenderfoot crew utilise an indoor rowing machine to establish their techniques and improve fitness while also striving to improve their ‘personal bests’ each week.

They have already undertaken their first water-based session in a rowing boat thanks to the work of rowing club volunteers.

The club’s advice to any other organisation looking to begin their insport journey is: “Be open minded. Ask questions to the participants as they are the experts of what they can and cannot do. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to safely run a session. Most of all enjoy it.”

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