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Wales U20 have a lot more to give

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Wales U20: Celebrating this year’s Grand Slam victory

Wales U20: Celebrating this year’s Grand Slam victory

WALES UNDER 20 head coach Jason Strange believes his side have the potential to improve further ready for the World Rugby U20 Championship next month.

The side swept all before them to clinch a first Six Nations Grand Slam at this age group, but Strange knows the competition will step up a gear in Manchester (June 7 – 25).

Lock Seb Davies, hooker Liam Belcher, back row Josh Macleod and wing Tom Williams have all returned to full fitness in order to boost the squad that produced a series of memorable performances in the spring, and Strange is confident the togetherness in the squad can only build in the coming weeks.

“It was a tough selection process,” said Strange. “It was difficult to cut a squad that had performed so well in the Six Nations, but the players coming back in certainly add an extra dimension.

“It’s good to get the players back into training and they are confident on the back of a major achievement in winning the Six Nations.

“We will certainly need to step up a level in order to compete with the top nations at the World Rugby U20 Championship, and the exciting part is that the coaches and players all feel we can improve by an extra 20 or 30%, so if we get that right, we have the opportunity to do well, and we will be working hard over the next six weeks to get that right.

“It’s a huge honour for the players to represent their country at a global tournament and we want to ensure they do themselves justice and enjoy every moment.”

Strange’s players earned plaudits in the Six Nations, not only with their results but through their attacking style of play. That won’t change says the former Wales A outside half.

“We will continue with our attacking style of rugby and our other strong points from the Six Nations. Our togetherness and the team culture we’ve created are some of our key strengths too as demonstrated in the Six Nations. We will build on that during this period and at a three day training camp based at Monmouth RFC in a fortnight’s time.”

Wales have Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand in Pool A of the Englandbased tournament.

“Although we beat Ireland in Dublin, they made significant improvements during the tournament and beat England away from home,” added Strange. “Georgia have improved enormously at age grade level, earning their place in this tournament by winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy, beating Canada in the final last year, while playing champions New Zealand is exactly the kind of test we want in order to develop our players to their full potential.”

The WRU and Ospreys have agreed that centre Owen Watkin will undergo a period of rest and rehab following the rugby season and partake in a full pre-season in order to allow him to train at full intensity next season and reach his full potential.

All of Wales’ World Rugby U20 matches will be televised by S4C.

Wales’ World Rugby U20 Championship squad:

Forwards: Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Liam Belcher (Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues), Josh Macleod (Scarlets)

Backs: Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), George Gasson (Dragons), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys)

Wales’ World Rugby Under 20 Championship fixtures:

June 7 (17.30) Wales v Ireland Manchester City Academy Stadium

June 11 (15.45) Wales v Georgia Manchester City Academy Stadium

June 15 (17.30) New Zealand v Wales AJ Bell Stadium

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Sport

Herbrandston Clinch Promotion to Division One

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Following a one all draw Tuesday night away to Narberth it confirmed Herbrandston’s promotion to the first division. An amazing achievement for Manger Leigh Galdo and his assistant Timmy Roberts. With a young team and after losing quality players over the summer it’s safe to say promotion wasn’t really ‘on the cards’ for Herbie in August.

On paper nobody would have expected Herbie to challenge at the top of the league. However they started the league as they meant to go on, with an outstanding unbeaten run, which made everyone quickly realise they were not to be underestimated. Galdo has done an excellent job in developing not only a young team, but the players as individuals who’ve matured as the season has developed. While they will enjoy promotion they won’t be relaxing too much as they still hope to lift the second division cup at Bridge Meadow.

Herbie’s boss however found some time in his busy schedule to reflect on promotion and the season to date.


‘Promotion wasn’t really on the radar when we sat down last summer and assessed the situation. With a mass exodus of first team starters, a full rebuild looked on the cards.

However the players we have in this years group are nothing if not resilient. A great start to the campaign meant we had put ourselves in contention early, 13 league games undefeated up to Xmas proved that we had enough to at least contend. There were certainly some tough test in the new year but all of them learning opportunities and a chance for this group of players to grow and mature as a team.

I’m a firm believer that through adversity, that’s where the real development can happen and it certainly seems that way with us at the moment with many of our young players now looking battle tested.

Humbled and armed with those lessons we’re looking now to finish the season strong. Back into the 1st Division has been the club’s ambition now for quite a few years and after finally achieving that after many close seasons in doing so we can turn our focus to trying to add some silverware in the 2nd Division cup.

A very tough task with the quality of teams left in the competition. But a challenge we embrace and look forward too. We’ll stay in the fight to the very end and see what destiny awaits us. ‘Up the Pickles’’

Congratulations to everyone involved in the club on promotion. A club that’s setup off the field and at junior level really deserves division one football. We also wish Herbie the best of luck for the cup too.

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Micky Beckett, Pembrokeshire’s Olympic hopeful, wins big in Palma!

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Micky Beckett, the pride of Solva and a stalwart of the British Sailing Team, once again etched his name in the annals of sailing history with a resounding victory at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma last week, marking his third consecutive triumph at this illustrious event. The 29-year-old maestro showcased his dominance in the men’s dinghy class amidst stiff competition from a formidable fleet of 193 boats, clinching the title with a day to spare.

His gold-medal feat spearheaded a triumphant campaign for the British contingent, as John Gimson and Anna Burnet secured bronze in the Nacra 17 category, while the rising star Matilda Nicholls clinched her debut senior-level medal, a bronze in the ILCA 6 class.

Entering the pivotal double points medal race, Beckett held an unassailable lead atop the leaderboard, a testament to his unparalleled skill and unwavering determination. Despite the comfort of his position, Beckett refused to relent, clinching a second-place finish in the decisive race and ultimately sealing victory with an imposing 44-point margin.

Reflecting on his remarkable achievement, Beckett humbly acknowledged the significance of his third consecutive triumph, stating, “I’ve been trying all week not to think about the fact that if I won this event it would be three in a row, but now it’s real and it’s pretty cool.” His sentiments echoed a blend of confidence and humility, underscoring the arduous journey that led to his triumph.

With his sights set on the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, Beckett exuded a mixture of confidence and determination, aware of the challenges that lie ahead. “All the top guys will be following their own plans to build up to this summer, but I have to say that beating them is a nice confidence boost,” Beckett remarked, encapsulating the competitive spirit that drives him towards excellence.

Despite his past setbacks in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Beckett remains undaunted, poised to make his mark on the global stage in Marseille, where he aims to transcend mere participation and carve his legacy amongst the world’s elite ILCA 7 sailors. With a European title in 2021 and a world silver in 2023 adorning his resume, Beckett’s journey is a testament to perseverance and unwavering dedication to his craft.

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Sport

Match Report – Milford Athletic vs Carew III’s.

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On a lovely evening down Pill division 4 strugglers Milford Athletic hosted fellow strugglers Carew III’s and as both teams have previously played out close, exciting encounters, this was expected to be another great game!

With a good home crowd, Carew won the toss and decided to play downhill in the first half, and it was a decision that initially looked like it may backfire, as the attacking Carew team met staunch resistance from the Athletic defence. Club stalwart Sam Daine’s was having a great game winning everything aerially and mopping up loose balls superbly, whilst Ashley Busby in goal was like a reincarnated Gordan Banks between the sticks!!

Ultimately, the slope, the windy conditions and superb attacking play from Tyler Worral saw the Athletic defence finally undone at the half hour mark, and then Carew continued their dominance with another two quick fire goals, courtesy of Harvey Drummond & Tom Woodford. 3-0 at half time and a slightly flattering scoreline for Carew.

The second half saw Athletic start brightly with the defence remaining resolute and Macaulay Chapman starting to dominate midfield, creating chance after chance.

In the space of 11 seconds half minutes, Athletic found themselves back on level terms, with Ciaran Lewis scoring twice, and a stonewall penalty being despatched by Pete Tunstall. What a turnaround!!

When everyone thought Carew may fold under pressure, up they stepped and re-took the lead with Harvey Drummond completing his well taken hat trick, and Carew found themselves back in the lead! What a game this was turning into!

It took all of 2 minutes for Ciaran Lewis to equalise, and complete his hat trick and for the remaining 20 minutes the game was end to end, with outstanding chances, last ditch tackles and great saves all over the place!! Final score Milford Athletic 4-4 Carew III’s in what could well be a game of the seaon contender.

As well as the football being superbly entertaining, no yellow cards were necessary and referee Marty Jones had complete control of the game despite the world’s worst offside decision where he agreed he had totally missed the Athletic fullback out wide! In his defence it was sunny.

A great game and a credit to both teams.

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