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Joyce stars as Wales beaten by Italy

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WALES’ Women were beaten by Italy on Sunday (Mar 11), in front of a crowd of just over 11,000 fans at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring as Isabella Locatelli ran over for the try which Beatrice Rigoni converted.

St Davids’ own Jaz Joyce was back in the fold having been with the Wales 7s team out in Australia but she showed no signs of jetlag as she made a bursting run to put the home side in a good position.

Hannah Jones also went on a good run and after she was brought down, Italy were guilty of an infringement and Robyn Wilkins sent the resulting penalty through the posts to reduce the gap.

Another good move involving Alisha Butchers, Elinor Snowsill, Wilkins and Kerin Lake came to an end as Italy defended well.

Butchers then passed to Lake who juggled the ball, doing well to keep hold of it, before passing to Jones who was held up just before the line. They kept at it and it was Butchers who made her way over to put the home side into the lead. Wilkins then sent the conversion wide but Wales led 8-7.

Joyce then picked the ball up inside the Wales 22 and beat two players and was only halted by the third just past the half way line.

Italy won the ball back and Manuela Furlan found Maria Magatti who made her way over for their second try to put them back in front. Rigoni’s kick looked to be going over but it fell just short of the posts and that was the end of the first half.

Ten minutes into the second half the Italians increased their lead as Rigoni went over for a try in the corner but she couldn’t add the conversion and the visitors held an 8-17 lead.

Just past the hour mark Butchers was given a yellow card for a tip tackle but much to their credit, they did not concede any points during that period.

Joyce again showed what she could do with another powerful run but she was brought down. Alecs Donovan also made a good burst through before winning a penalty for her side.

Wales were forced to bring Joyce off for a head injury assessment and fellow Pembrokeshire woman Lisa Neumann was brought on in her place.

With seven minutes to go Wales finally made the breakthrough as Sioned Harries picked up the ball and touched down in the right corner and Wilkins added the extras to bring Wales to within two points of Italy.

Italy hit back and put the pressure on as they kicked to into the 22 before the ball bounced out. Wales looked to play out of their own 22 but dropped the ball only to win it back again moments later.

However, Harries was then given a yellow card meaning her match was over and Wales would finish with 14 women on the field.

Thankfully for Wales, Joyce was ok and she was brought back onto the field for the remaining minutes.

With three minutes to go Italy worked the ball out wide and Michela Sillari made her way over for the try despite the best efforts of Joyce to stop her. Sillari then sent the conversion wide and Italy led 22-15 with little time left to play.

Wales were unable to find a way back despite their best efforts but they did earn a losing bonus point for being within one score.

Defeat for Wales is their third of the season while Italy celebrated their first win in nine Six Nations matches.

Wales may be fifth in the table but they could still have a say in who wins the title in the final round of fixtures.

On Friday (Mar 16), Wales take on leaders France knowing that a win could open the door for England to win the title, should they beat Ireland on the same day.

Entertainment

New Radio series on remarkable rise of women’s football

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FROM hand-me-downs to heroes, a new three-part show celebrates the incredible growth of women’s football in Wales

BBC Radio Wales has today announced a new series Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red, documenting the rise of women’s football in Wales. 

Presented by Jess Fishlock, Wales’ most capped footballer, the series offers an unprecedented look into the evolution of women’s football from its humble beginnings to its current status as a sporting phenomenon. With exclusive access to the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the series features in-depth interviews with prominent figures in the sport, including Welsh captain Sophie Ingle and midfield star Angharad James.

The series delves into the early days of women’s football when players wore hand-me-down kits from the men’s teams and played in front of modest crowds. It tells of the struggles of those who paved the way for the current generation of female footballers, to the present day where thousands of fans flock to stadiums to watch women’s football, and even more tune in to the television and radio coverage.

Jess Fishlock says, “I’m really excited that our story’s finally getting told and people can see how far this game has gone but also what has been sacrificed to get us to where we are right now in the women’s game.”

Carolyn Hitt, Head of BBC Radio Wales says “The series highlights how more women and girls than ever before are taking up the sport – as fans and as players.  It really showcases the FAW’s efforts to foster this growth and support the women’s game at all levels.  Jess Fishlock’s unique perspective and engaging storytelling brings to life the triumphs, challenges, and aspirations of the team whilst also providing a candid look at the professional journeys of these women.”

Sue Butler, Managing Editor, BBC Wales Sport, says “In the run-up to these crucial play-offs for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025, the series is a timely celebration of the progress and potential of Welsh women’s football. It will inspire and energize fans and players alike as the national team prepares for one of its most significant challenges yet.”

This three-part series will premiere on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds this October.

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News

A new era for sport and health tech innovation in Wales

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SWANSEA UNIVERSITY has launched the National Network for Innovation In Sport and Health (NNIISH), a new initiative aimed at transforming the landscape of health and sport technology in Wales.

Led by the University and supported by Swansea Bay City Deal and local health boards, NNIISH aims to accelerate the growth of sport tech, med tech and healthcare innovation in the Swansea Bay City Region by bringing together local, national and multinational expertise.

NNIISH is set to be a constantly evolving, collaborative partnership between academia, industry and the NHS.  Its aim is to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new alliances, attracting talent and encouraging investment in order to boost the local economy and make Swansea a global leader in medical and sports technology innovation.   

Professor Keith Lloyd, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science told Herald.Wales: “We are excited to introduce NNIISH, a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to enhancing sport and wellbeing across Wales and beyond. By fostering a community across sport, health and technology, we aim to drive forward innovative solutions that will revolutionise the sector.”

Anyone working in sports-tech, med-tech or healthcare who would like to be part of the NNIISH vision –to transform the landscape of health and sport technology in Wales – can sign up to the NNIISH mailing list now.  

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News

Pembrokeshire teenager to represent Wales in Golf – again!

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JEMMA NAND-LALN, a talented 16-year-old golfer from Tenby, has once again been selected to represent Wales in the Wales Schools squad. This marks the second consecutive year Jemma will don the Welsh colors, a testament to her skill and determination on the golf course.

Jemma will compete against the England Schools team at Stoke Rochford Golf Club in Lincolnshire in early September. This opportunity comes as a significant boost for Jemma, who has recently recovered from major surgery over the winter. Her selection also follows her recognition as the top girl player in Dyfed for 2023.

Her journey reflects not only her personal resilience but also her unwavering commitment to the sport she loves. Jemma’s family, friends, and local supporters are all thrilled with her accomplishment and will be cheering her on as she competes at the national level.

Jemma Nand-Lal’s story is an inspiration to many young athletes, demonstrating that with hard work and dedication, overcoming obstacles and achieving great success is possible.

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