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Weekend of rugby to celebrate South Wales Pirates 25th Anniversary

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wheelchair rugby teamTHE SOUTH WALES PIRATES wheelchair rugby team will be celebrating its twentyfifth anniversary this week with a weekend of matches, the Treat Trust Cup, against teams from across the United Kingdom. Initially only a small team, the Pirates were set up in 1989 under the guidance of Keith Jones and soon became a force to be reckoned with in rugby circles, winning 4 national games titles, 5 league titles and 2 silver medals at European Club championship level.

Over the years they have supplied 12 players to the GB team, with Paul Davies (Ace) later becoming the manager of the Great Britain team and Paul Jenkins (1996 Atlanta Paralympics) and Mike Spence (2000 Sydney Paralympics) coaching the GB Armed Forces wheelchair rugby team to a gold medal at the Invictus Games earlier this month. Hugely influential in the development of Wheelchair Rugby the Pirates are still held up as a model club within the UK and have been key to developing the structure of the sport in Great Britain.

David Pond, Chief Executive, GBWR, comments “Over the last 25 years South Wales Pirates players have been at the forefront of Wheelchair Rugby. Keith Jones, founder of the club, started playing the sport when it was first introduced to the UK in 1984, whilst David Anthony became one of the iconic images of the 2012 with his blue Mohican haircut. This will be a true celebration of the sport, of the Pirates, and of all those fantastic volunteers who have worked so hard at making the club what it is today.” Nic Beggs, General Manager of the LC said: “Here at the LC, we strive to demonstrate a high level of inclusion provision within our services to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get involved, and so it’s an honour to host the Treat Trust Cup here, and further drive our commitment to disability sport.

We wish the best of luck to all competitors taking part and look forward to an enjoyable day.” The tournament has been sponsored by Peter Lynn & Partners and starts at 9am on Saturday 27th September (10am Sunday 28th) at the LC Swansea, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, West Glamorgan, SA1 3ST. Entry is free and the full schedule for the day can be downloaded from the GBWR website: www.gbwr.org.uk

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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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