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All Blacks storm Tregaron

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NEYLAND moved back to the top of League 3 West A on Saturday (Dec 15) as they stormed through Tregaron to beat them 71-3.

Storm Deirdre did its best to disrupt the game but the Athletic Ground pitch held up well with rain and strong winds battering the pitch for much of the eighty minutes and it was the All Blacks storm that prevailed.

The away side turned up late for the game and only had 14 players meaning they would have to opt for uncontested scrums but they deserve credit for their efforts.

Despite being a man light Tregaron took the lead. Having missed a penalty moments before, Huw Bonner made amends for that miss with a penalty.

However, that was as good as it got for the visitors as Neyland hit back almost immediately. A good move involving Patrick Bellerby and Alex Codd was halted but play was brought back for an earlier foul. From the resulting play Sam Cataki touched the ball down and George Evans added the extra two points for a 7-3 lead.

Delme Bateman then went on an excellent run and he found Ben Williams inside who ran on to touch down under the posts. Evans again converted.

The All Blacks were not done there as Patrick Bellerby broke clear to scored Neyland’s third try. This time Evans was unsuccessful with the conversion.

They then had their fourth try and a bonus point, all inside the opening ten minutes as Alex Codd touched the ball down after it was kicked into the try area. Evans sent the conversion wide and Neyland held a 24-3 lead.

Neyland continued to look for more tries and after one move came to an end for a knock on, Scott Buirds, playing on permit from Whitland, supplied the try-scoring pass for Iestyn Evans. Namesake George then added the extras once more.

From a Tregaron scrum Neyland scored their sixth try. The ball was knocked on but Codd kept the play alive kicking the ball forward before touching down. Evans converted again.

Codd again came close to scoring as he ran into the 22 but Tregaron were able to keep the All Blacks out and clear the danger.

One player from each side was then sent to the sin bin as they squared up to each other but it did little to affect the flow of play.

On the stroke of half time Neyland scored their seventh try as they broke free again and George Williams crossed the whitewash. Evans added the extras and Neyland held a commanding 45-3 lead at the break.

At the start of the second half Neyland seemed determined to pile on the misery and scored another try in the corner through Tom Hughes. Evans sent the conversion wide.

Owain Evans was next to get his name on the score sheet and George Evans added the extras.

Tregaron then won a series of penalties which saw them enter the Neyland 22 but they were unable to find a way through as the All Blacks cleared the ball away.

The ball was then kicked on and Bellerby ran on to it, kicking it forward again before touching down. Evans then added the conversion for a 64-3 lead.

Bellerby then completed his hat trick late on with Neyland’s eleventh try and Evans added the extras.

It was an excellent win for Neyland which sends them back to the top of the table, having now played more games than the teams around them.

They are next in action on Saturday (Dec 29), when they travel to Pembroke Dock Quins. Tregaron will look to bounce back in their next game, at home against Llanybydder.

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Nigel Owens hosts virtual rugby quiz for Pembroke Panthers

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PEMBROKE Panthers RFC enjoyed a rugby return during lockdown after winning a competition which saw international referee Nigel Owens host their own virtual clubhouse quiz, thanks to Principality Building Society.

The women’s squad at the Pembroke club beat more than 1000 entries to win Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz competition. With many clubs affected by widespread flooding at the start of this year and now closed indefinitely due to coronavirus, the building society is continually looking for ways to support grassroots rugby clubs in Wales.

Pembroke Panther Lucy Neale, 30, entered her team with the hope of bringing the players together online. She said: “We’d usually see each other up to five times a week between training sessions, matches and socials, so it’s been a really strange time. I thought I’d enter the club thinking it would be a nice pick-me-up for us all, but never actually expected to win so it was an amazing surprise.”

The team were tested on their rugby knowledge by world cup referee Nigel Owens over video conferencing platform Zoom, where players won tickets to Welsh internationals at Principality Stadium, signed rugby shirts and balls, and tickets for a tour around Principality Stadium. The quiz included a guest appearance from former Welsh international Tom Shanklin.

Lucy continued: “It was such a memorable and special evening for us all. We’re usually quite a lively bunch but we behaved well for Nigel. We’re so thankful to Principality for putting on the quiz and allowing us to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience as a team.”

As sponsors of Principality Stadium and the National Youth Leagues for grassroots clubs in Wales, Principality has a strong relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and knows how much rugby means to communities across the country. With matches on hold currently, the building society wanted to be able to bring the buzz of the clubhouse to the home.

Clubhouse Quiz host, Nigel Owens, said: “Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz was a fantastic way to bring one team closer together and Pembroke Panthers really showed off their rugby knowledge. Rugby plays such an important role in Welsh communities and I know they’ll be missing the action on the field right now, so it was lovely to have been part of this experience to bring this team together. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sin bin any of them either.”

Julie-Ann Haines, Chief Customer Officer at Principality Building Society, said: “Many rugby clubs across Wales have had a really difficult year, with flood damage to pitches and clubhouses now followed by coronavirus. This was our chance to recreate the camaraderie of the clubhouse for one team and we hope that it brought plenty of laughs and memorable moments for Pembroke Panthers at this challenging time.”

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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