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Watch Wales for free in open training session

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WARREN Gatland’s Wales will train at Principality Stadium this half-term, from 2pm Monday, October 29, and the nation is invited to come and watch, for free.

Wales have hosted open sessions at their national ground ahead of the last two Rugby World Cups, with around 10,000 fans attending in 2013, before England2015, and also in both 2011 and 2012, before travelling to the tournament in New Zealand.

With 13 matches in less than 12 months to go until Japan2019 the build-up begins in earnest when head coach Gatland’s side face Scotland at home on Saturday, November 3, followed by Australia, Tonga and, finally, South Africa on consecutive weekends thereafter in this year’s Under Armour Series.

Over 200,000 tickets have already been sold across the four match campaign, with remaining tickets starting at £45 per head for adults (£15 concession) and £10 (Tonga), for the games – but supporters now have a fifth opportunity to see their heroes in action in Cardiff for free courtesy of the invitation issued by Gatland today:  visit www.wru.co.uk/tickets to register for your free ticket.

“We have some of the game’s most passionate and dedicated supporters in Wales and it’s fantastic that they are able to watch us train at the world’s best rugby stadium,” said Gatland, who is Wales’ longest serving and most successful coach, entering his final year at the helm.

“The open session kicks off our Test week ahead of the opening Under Armour Series encounter against Scotland and it should give supporters a great insight into the squad and our preparations.

“We know we will be well supported this autumn against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa, and fans will come out in force during the Six Nations, and for our warm-up matches next summer, but I can’t think of a better way to begin a huge year than by inviting everyone into the Stadium for free at the very start of it all?

“It’s not often supporters get the chance to see the players train in this way and as a squad we are looking forward to the session and hopefully training in front of a big crowd.”

Gatland will take charge of the kind of a typically intense training session he has become famous for, with fellow coaches Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins all involved in various elements.

Gates open at 12.30pm and the squad is due to take the field soon after 2pm, with all of the action due to be played out live on Stadium big screens and commentary and ‘special guest’ interviews providing the backdrop to the day.

The format will evolve whilst the squad are in camp, as new formations are perhaps built and the opposition continues to be analysed, but the sessions usually last around 50 minutes.

Individuals who may not be involved and back room staff will be available to speak to the crowds via the Stadium PA system to give unique insight into the day’s proceedings and catering outlets will be fully stocked and available for supporter’s use.

Tickets are free at the point of registration online at www.wru.wales/tickets and can be printed at home right up until event day on Monday, October 29, with a six person limit applying to each registration.

When accessing tickets supporters will be given the opportunity to automatically donate to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, although there is no obligation to do so with £0, £1, £2, £5 options available.

The Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby Union have joined together to create the Doddie Weir Cup, to be contested when Wales and Scotland meet, and are fundraising in the name of the former Scottish international at the fixture to support research into Motor Neuron Disease, donations to the charity can also be made directly online via myname5doddie.co.uk/donate

The Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust is the WRU’s permanent designated charity which supports players who have been injured through rugby.

“We are extremely grateful to our partner Ticketmaster for their help in making sure 100% of donations made will transfer over to the Doddie Weir Foundation and the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and helping us ensure access to the training session is entirely free of charge,” added a WRU spokesperson.

Under Armour Series 2019 at Principality Stadium:

Wales’ open training session, Monday, October 29 (Gates open 12.30pm), FREE

Wales v Scotland: Sat, November 3 (KO: 2.45pm)

Wales v Australia: Sat, November 10 (KO: 5.20pm)

Wales v Tonga: Sat, November 17 (KO: 2.30pm)

Wales v South Africa: Sat, November 24 (KO: 5.20pm)

News

Wales international Johnny Williams signs new Scarlets contract

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THE SCARLETS said this week that they are delighted to announce that Wales international centre Johnny Williams has signed a new contract with the club.

The 27-year-old joined the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons in 2020 and after just four appearances earned his first Wales cap, against Georgia in Llanelli.

A powerful-carrying presence in the Scarlets midfield, he has since made 46 appearances, scoring six tries, including a memorable interception in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne.

He has won seven caps for Wales, featuring at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Johnny has been a key member of the side in recent years. He’s a player who is a dynamic carrier, is physical with and without the ball, has a good skill set and has an impact on every game he’s involved in.

“He is an important cog in how we look to play and it’s fantastic that he has agreed a new contract with the club. I know the fans will be thrilled with this news and, along with the likes of Eddie James, Joe Roberts and with Macs Page coming through, we have a lot of talent in that midfield pool for the coming years.”

Johnny Williams said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. It has been a frustrating season in terms of results, but I am excited by the potential of the squad we are putting together.

“A lot of young boys have put their hands up and we showed during the final few games of the season the kind of rugby we can produce.

“Pre-season will be around before we know it and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, ready for a big start to next season.”

Johnny is the latest player to recommit to the Scarlets ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, following Tonga lock Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams.

Scarlets have also strengthened their squad with the addition of hooker Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), prop Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), full-back Ellis Mee (Nottingham), lock Max Douglas (Toyota Canon Eagles), Wales international prop Henry Thomas (Castres Olympique) and back-three player Blair Murray (Canterbury).

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Osasuna welcomes Haverfordwest County A.F.C.

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THE PRESIDENT of Haverfordwest County AFC, Rob Edwards, visited the Navarrese club to learn more about the work the Club is doing on and off the field

Pamplona (Wednesday, June 19, 2024) – Club Atlético Osasuna welcomed Haverfordwest County A.F.C. president Rob Edwards this morning. During his visit, the president of the Cymru Premier team, the top tier of Welsh football, met with Rojillo president Luis Sabalza to talk about the work Osasuna is doing on and off the field. Later, he visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the job done at the academy level. Today’s meeting was the Union of European Clubs Board members’ first meeting.

For the president of the Navarrese club, this type of encounter is essential as it showcases the growth Osasuna is having at a global level. “I think it is crucial because, recently, it seemed as if Osasuna only had relevance in our region and our community. However, Osasuna has gained worldwide notoriety through the Spanish Supercup and the Conference League. It has brought us a ton of joy that many clubs and executives want to come to know Osasuna and the work we do on and off the field and with our academy because it shows that we are not only doing good; we are doing great. Our goal is to make Osasuna known worldwide,” Sabalza said.

Haverfordwest County A.F.C. sees Osasuna as a model club for growth. “We are a small club, and we are looking to grow on and off the pitch, as well as our infrastructure, fan engagement, and community reach. It is always fascinating how bigger clubs can fix these problems… The objectives and solutions are very similar despite the size of the club compared to ours. Many clubs outside the elite European group will have the same challenges. It is great to understand how they overcome them and how they continue to grow and develop,” Edwards mentioned.

It is not only Osasuna’s front office work that caught the attention of the Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman but also the club’s work at the academy level. Edwards visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the academy. While in Tajonar, he met with Tajonar director Ángel Alcalde and Tajonar technical director Patxi Puñal, who presented him with ‘Método Tajonar,’ the academy’s work method.

“[Osasuna and Haverfordwest County] share the same ethos of bringing through young players to the first team and giving young players a pathway into a career in football. I think the mindset of a club like Osasuna and what we are trying to achieve in Wales at our club is very similar. It’s been really interesting to come and understand how you work with the local community and how you engage to fill up the stadium and create such an amazing atmosphere,” Edwards highlighted.

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Haverfordwest County officials to visit Atlético Osasuna for strategic discussions

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NEXT week, Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman Robb Edwards and COO Beccy Nuttall will travel to Spain to visit Club Atlético Osasuna. During their visit, they will engage in high-level discussions with Osasuna’s upper management, focusing on community and fan engagement strategies.

In April, both Haverfordwest County A.F.C. and Club Atlético Osasuna were appointed to the Executive Board of the Union of European Clubs (UEC), an international organisation established in April 2023. The UEC was founded to provide a voice to the 92% of professional football clubs that often go unheard. The Union aims to democratise decision-making processes in European football, ensuring that each club has a vote and that the destiny of the sport is not determined solely by the wealthiest clubs on the continent.

“We look forward to this meeting with Osasuna and hope our collaboration with other clubs continues to grow,” said Edwards. The upcoming visit underscores the commitment of both clubs to fostering stronger ties and working collaboratively to shape the future of European football.

The discussions will likely cover a range of topics, from enhancing fan experiences to developing community outreach programmes, reflecting the shared values and objectives of both clubs within the UEC framework.

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