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Wales Sevens name squad for Dubai and Cape Town

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RICHIE Pugh has named his Wales Sevens squad that will travel to Dubai and Cape Town for his first season as head coach.

The former Sevens World Cup winner, who has stepped up from his assistant role since Gareth Williams took over as Wales U20 head coach, will hand World Rugby Sevens Series debuts to five players in Dubai next week – four of whom were recently part of the U20 programme.

Those four players join the programme from the regions, who view the sevens pathway as key to some of their young players’ development.

“Many will already know about Ryan Conbeer’s finishing exploits from a 15s perspective with Scarlets and Wales U20, and he’ll provide us with good firepower out wide. The Cardiff Blues pairing of Ben Jones and Dane Blacker in midfield are full of confidence and back themselves. Dragons’ Taine Basham up front has got a great skillset and footwork for a carrying back-rower.”

Scarlets’ Tomi Lewis has something of a head-start on his fellow young teammates, given the virtuoso display he put on in Dubai last season in scoring seven tries over the course of the weekend.

As part of their preparations for Dubai and Cape Town, the Wales squad partook in a training camp with European champions Ireland a week ago which saw them compete in live game situations (watch WRU TV’s snapshot of the day).

Eighteen-year-old Jay Jones was originally spotted playing at Rosslyn Park Sevens, and has progressed through the sevens development pathway – much to the delight of Pugh. “We’ve been fortunate to have someone like Jay in the squad, who’s not necessarily an academy player or linked with a region. He was part of the Great Britain U18 squad, has played Rugby Europe for us and is constantly putting his hand up, especially with his attacking performance against Ireland last week.”

Luke Treharne will captain his country, ably assisted by vice-captain Afon Bagshaw. Pugh says: “Luke has got a lot of experience and the players look up to him. He can lead the team well and knows what to expect on the big stage. He’s backed up by Afon, who’s been in the programme over a year now and leads from front. They both set the standards and along with the rest of our core players they’ve been supporting the new players really well.”

Pugh believes there’s a good balance in his squad for the first two legs of the series, with Dragons and Wales U20s’ Joe Goodchild waiting in the wings as a travelling reserve. “When you add in Ben Roach, Cai Devine, Owen Jenkins and Will Talbot-Davies, I’m hoping all their experience will spur the boys on come next Friday. It’ll be completely different to the cold climate we’ve been accustomed to lately, so we’ve got to get used to the heat of Dubai and Cape Town very quickly.”

Wales will have a training game against Scotland on Tuesday next week, and Pugh suggests that come their first pool game against world champions New Zealand, some of his players “will be thrown into the deep end of the World Series”, with USA and Spain also to come.

However, he adds: “We need to expose players to these experienced teams, put them under that level of pressure in a top-level environment. This is what sevens gives them an insight into, and it’s fantastic for their learning.”

Core Players: Afon Bagshaw (Vice-Captain), Cai Devine, Owen Jenkins, Jay Jones, Ben Roach, Luke Treharne (Captain). Cardiff Blues: Dane Blacker, Ben Jones. Dragons: Taine Basham, Joe Goodchild, Will Talbot-Davies. Scarlets: Ryan Conbeer, Tomi Lewis.

Sport

Izzard and Lewis show sinks Tish

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CRESSELLY’s Iwan Izzard just missed out on a century while Ryan and Josh Lewis took six wickets between them on Saturday (May 18) as they helped their side to victory over St Ishmaels.

Tish elected to field after winning the toss and they took an early wicket as Dan Sutton was caught by Harry Nicholas off the bowling of Jordan Milich.

Phil Williams and Simon Cole shared 47 runs for the second wicket before Cole was trapped leg before by Milich.

Another good stand followed as Williams and Iwan Izzard took Cresselly past 100 runs. They were then reduced to 136-3 as Williams, who hit seven fours in his knock of 62, was caught by Phil Cockburn off the bowling of Andrew Pawlett.

Andrew Williams then bowled Alex Bayley and soon after, Pawlett trapped Matthew Morgan leg before to reduce the visitors to 160-5.

At this point, Izzard and Ryan Lewis took over for Cresselly as they smashed 89 runs for the sixth wicket.

Lewis hit five fours and three sixes in his knock of 48 from 25 balls but he was then bowled by Andrew Williams.

Izzard had also batted well as he hit four fours and six sixes in a score of 91 from 88 balls. He was also bowled by Williams as Cresselly finished on a good total of 265-7.

Peter Bradshaw fell early in Tish’s reply as he was caught by Simon Cole off the bowling of Sam Harts.

Harry Nicholas was then run out by Josh Lewis as Tish slipped to 21-2.

Daniel Howells and Phil Cockburn then shared 52 runs for the third wicket as they went in search of victory.

Howells hit four fours and two sixes as he scored 38 but he was then caught by Cole off the bowling of Josh Lewis.

Cockburn made 21 but he was then caught by Alex Bayley off the bowling of Ryan Lewis.

Jack Nicholas scored 11 but was then caught by Dan Sutton off the bowling of Josh Lewis leaving Tish on 100-5.

That soon became six as Josh bowled Dan Richards. Brennan Devonald made 15 but he was then bowled by Ryan Lewis.

Andrew Pawlett offered some resistance as he hit three sixes in a score of 25 but he was then bowled by Josh Lewis.

Iwan Izzard trapped Andrew Williams leg before and then wrapped up the innings as he ran out Jordan Milich.

That meant Tish were all out for 152, giving Cresselly their second win of the season.

On Saturday (May 25), Cresselly are at home to Llangwm while Tish are away to Haverfordwest.

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Sport

Holliday takes Town second

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A THIRD century in four games from Simon Holliday helped Haverfordwest to victory on Saturday (May 18), as they beat Saundersfoot by 134 runs.

Haverfordwest won the toss and batted first in Saundersfoot and they made an impressive total of 287-6 from their 45 overs.

They made a great start to their innings as Holliday and Mike Jones shared 108 runs for the first wicket.

Jones hit nine fours and a six as he scored 53 but Nicky Cope then claimed his wicket as he hit the ball into the hands of Neil Powling.

A partnership of fifty followed between Holliday and Lee Summons but the latter was then bowled by Cope on a score of 21.

Holliday had hit nine fours and seven sixes as he smashed his way to a century from 96 balls but he was then caught by John Mansbridge off the bowling of Powling.

Saundersfoot then took two more wickets as Powling bowled Ben Field for a duck and he then took the catch to take the wicket of Danny Potter (12) giving Cope his third wicket.

That left Town on 194-5 but Jake Merry and Adam James were in no mood to sit around.

They continued to find runs as James hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 35 from 17 balls before being caught by Tom Mansbridge off the bowling of Sam Franklin.

Merry continued and finished not out on 38 after four fours and a six.

That set Saundersfoot 288 to win but after a steady start they lost three quick wickets.

John and Tom Mansbridge opened the batting with 27 runs but John was then caught by Jake Merry off the bowling of Adam James on a score of 14.

Sam Franklin was then out for a duck when he was caught by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Evan Watts and he then claimed his second wicket as he had Tom Mansbridge caught by Lee Summons on a score of 16.

That left the home side on 42-3 but Nicky Cope and Paul Mansbridge shared 37 runs for the fourth wicket.

Paul played a supporting role as he scored five before being bowled by Clive Tucker.

Cope then shared another 45 runs with Yannic Parker but Holliday then made the breakthrough as he caught and bowled Parker on a score of 7.

Cope had batted well for his score of 83 from 58 balls, hitting seven fours and seven sixes, but he was then also caught and bowled by Holliday.

That left Saundersfoot on 140-6 and wickets continued to fall. Neil Powling was bowled by Adam James as was Lewis Catt and Matt O’Neill was then stumped by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Holliday.

Holliday then claimed his fourth wicket to finish with figures of 4-48 as he bowled Tarran Richards.

That left Danny Brace not out on 15 but it was a day to remember for Holliday and co.

On Saturday (May 25), Haverfordwest are at home to Tish while Saundersfoot are away to leaders Neyland.

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Sport

Second title for O’Sullivan

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CARDIGAN ABC’s Mikey O’Sullivan won the second Welsh schoolboy title of his burgeoning career at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens on Sunday (May 19).

Pitted against Lewis Greenhalgh (Dyffryn ABC), the Fishguard youngster flew out of his corner in his usual style, ploughing into his north Walian opponent with both hands.

Within less than a minute O’Sullivan had landed a cracking left hook, giving Greenhalgh a standing eight count.

Refusing to allow Greenhalgh off the hook, O’Sullivan charged straight back in, landing a continuous barrage of punches which prompted the referee to intervene before the end of the first round.

A member of a noted Fishguard boxing family, O’Sullivan had sealed his place in the final with a one-sided unanimous points win over Sean Ward, of St Josephs, Newport, the previous week.

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