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Watch Wales for free in open training session

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WARREN Gatland’s Wales will train at Principality Stadium this half-term, from 2pm Monday, October 29, and the nation is invited to come and watch, for free.

Wales have hosted open sessions at their national ground ahead of the last two Rugby World Cups, with around 10,000 fans attending in 2013, before England2015, and also in both 2011 and 2012, before travelling to the tournament in New Zealand.

With 13 matches in less than 12 months to go until Japan2019 the build-up begins in earnest when head coach Gatland’s side face Scotland at home on Saturday, November 3, followed by Australia, Tonga and, finally, South Africa on consecutive weekends thereafter in this year’s Under Armour Series.

Over 200,000 tickets have already been sold across the four match campaign, with remaining tickets starting at £45 per head for adults (£15 concession) and £10 (Tonga), for the games – but supporters now have a fifth opportunity to see their heroes in action in Cardiff for free courtesy of the invitation issued by Gatland today:  visit www.wru.co.uk/tickets to register for your free ticket.

“We have some of the game’s most passionate and dedicated supporters in Wales and it’s fantastic that they are able to watch us train at the world’s best rugby stadium,” said Gatland, who is Wales’ longest serving and most successful coach, entering his final year at the helm.

“The open session kicks off our Test week ahead of the opening Under Armour Series encounter against Scotland and it should give supporters a great insight into the squad and our preparations.

“We know we will be well supported this autumn against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa, and fans will come out in force during the Six Nations, and for our warm-up matches next summer, but I can’t think of a better way to begin a huge year than by inviting everyone into the Stadium for free at the very start of it all?

“It’s not often supporters get the chance to see the players train in this way and as a squad we are looking forward to the session and hopefully training in front of a big crowd.”

Gatland will take charge of the kind of a typically intense training session he has become famous for, with fellow coaches Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins all involved in various elements.

Gates open at 12.30pm and the squad is due to take the field soon after 2pm, with all of the action due to be played out live on Stadium big screens and commentary and ‘special guest’ interviews providing the backdrop to the day.

The format will evolve whilst the squad are in camp, as new formations are perhaps built and the opposition continues to be analysed, but the sessions usually last around 50 minutes.

Individuals who may not be involved and back room staff will be available to speak to the crowds via the Stadium PA system to give unique insight into the day’s proceedings and catering outlets will be fully stocked and available for supporter’s use.

Tickets are free at the point of registration online at www.wru.wales/tickets and can be printed at home right up until event day on Monday, October 29, with a six person limit applying to each registration.

When accessing tickets supporters will be given the opportunity to automatically donate to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, although there is no obligation to do so with £0, £1, £2, £5 options available.

The Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby Union have joined together to create the Doddie Weir Cup, to be contested when Wales and Scotland meet, and are fundraising in the name of the former Scottish international at the fixture to support research into Motor Neuron Disease, donations to the charity can also be made directly online via myname5doddie.co.uk/donate

The Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust is the WRU’s permanent designated charity which supports players who have been injured through rugby.

“We are extremely grateful to our partner Ticketmaster for their help in making sure 100% of donations made will transfer over to the Doddie Weir Foundation and the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and helping us ensure access to the training session is entirely free of charge,” added a WRU spokesperson.

Under Armour Series 2019 at Principality Stadium:

Wales’ open training session, Monday, October 29 (Gates open 12.30pm), FREE

Wales v Scotland: Sat, November 3 (KO: 2.45pm)

Wales v Australia: Sat, November 10 (KO: 5.20pm)

Wales v Tonga: Sat, November 17 (KO: 2.30pm)

Wales v South Africa: Sat, November 24 (KO: 5.20pm)

Sport

Collins’ stunner earns win for Veterans

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A STUNNING strike from Hakin left back Adam Collins ensured that the Veteran Vikings earned maximum points and remain top of the Welsh Veterans League after a hard fought 4-3 win at home to Coedeva Athletic last Sunday (Feb 17).

However, on a very windy day, the Vikings found themselves behind early on as Gareth Hinwood scored from the penalty spot.

Hakin were soon level though, when Stuart MacDonald set up Matthew Price to score from close range.

Richard Nash gave Hakin the lead scoring via a deflection and Paul Andrews levelled matters for Coedeva before the break, as his shot from distance also took a deflection.

Early in the second half, Michael McCarthy beat the Coedeva keeper to a ball to make it 3-2 from close range and almost immediately, Coedeva were level after another Gareth Hinwood penalty.

Inside the final quarter, a stunning left footed strike from Adam Collins found the top corner from distance to give Hakin the win.

Hakin next play on Sunday, March 3, at home to Swansea University in the semi-final of the Welsh Veterans Cup.

Hakin United: Jason Morgan, Nigel Armstrong, Richard Bland, Nigel Delaney, Adam Collins, Shaun Mills, Richard Nash, Stuart MacDonald, Michael McCarthy, Matthew Price, Leighton Edwards. Subs: Leigh Walters, Simon Rocke, Jamie Phillips, Gary Dawes.

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Saints do the double

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ST CLEARS completed the double over Neyland as they earned a 4-0 win on Saturday (Feb 16).

The Saints, who were forced into a re-shuffle at the back and without one of their midfielders, had beaten them 5-2 at home the previous week and Neyland would have been looking for some revenge.

However, it was the Saints who started strongly and took a deserved lead from a short corner. Jonny Thomas found Steve Thomas unmarked in the box and he headed home.

Both teams had chances to score but Saints keeper James Dickson made a few good saves to keep their 1-0 lead in tact.

The visitors eventually got the second goal of the game following good individual play by Will Evans.

Evans then added his second directly from a free kick to make it 3-0. They then rounded off a good day as Sean Seymour Davies latched onto a long ball to score and make it 4-0.

On Saturday (Feb 23), Neyland are away to Goodwick while St Clears welcome Merlins Bridge.

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Sport

Jones’ late drop goal earns win for Blues

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HAVERFORDWEST moved up to second place in League 3 West A on Saturday (Feb 16), as they beat Neyland with a late drop goal.

It was a tight game with both sides battling well but it was the Blues who went ahead early on as Craig Barnett scored a penalty.

Barnett then scored another soon after to put the visitors into a 0-6 lead and it remained that way until the half time whistle.

Early in the second half Neyland were back in it as they scored a penalty to make the score 3-6.

Mark Riley then put Neyland ahead as he was credited with a pushover try but the conversion was missed and the All Blacks led by two points.

Haverfordwest pushed on looking for a winning score and when a try wasn’t forthcoming the ball was sent back to Mikey Jones who kept calm to send a drop goal through the posts.

That put the Blues one point ahead at 8-9 and there was little time for the home side to respond.

The All Blacks do pick up the consolation of a losing bonus point but that will not do much to lift their spirits after they were dropped to fourth in the table following other results.

The Blues now sit second with Aberaeron breathing down their necks having played three games less.

There is no game on Saturday (Feb 23), as Wales take on England at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

The sides return to action on Saturday, March 2, when Haverfordwest host Llanybydder and Neyland host St Davids.

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