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Wales name squad for Scotland clash

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WALES have named two uncapped players in their 23-man squad for their opening Under Armour Series clash against Scotland with wing Luke Morgan named in the starting XV and fly-half Jarrod Evans named on the bench.

Morgan, Wales Sevens’ all-time leading try scorer, will make his debut at Principality Stadium alongside the experienced duo of British & Irish Lions George North and Leigh Halfpenny.

Eight Lions in total are named for Wales including 2017 Player of the Series Jonathan Davies who returns from injury to feature for his country for the first time since 2017. He partners regional teammate Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield with Gareth Anscombe and Gareth Davies partnering at half-back.

Nicky Smith, Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis make-up the front-three combination, with Lewis making his first start at home for Wales.

Cory Hill and captain Alun Wyn Jones continue their partnership in the second-row with Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty linking up to make an all Lions back-row.

Wales and Scotland will go head-to-head in Cardiff on Saturday for the Doddie Weir Cup and the hosts are looking forward to kicking off their 2018/19 campaign according, to Rob Howley.

“We are excited to kick off our autumn campaign on Saturday and it was great to welcome Warren back yesterday,” said Howley.

“Warren has been in constant dialogue with us over the past week and we have selected a very strong squad for this weekend.

“It is great to reward players on form and we are looking forward to seeing Luke make his debut on the wing.  He has come through the Sevens system, he will bring a point of difference to the squad and it’s a great opportunity for him.  Likewise it will be good to see Jarrod from the bench and hopefully seeing some x-factor from him.

“We have created good strength in depth, especially from the summer and have a nice balance bringing seven Lions back into the team.

“We are very respectful of this Scotland team and are looking forward to what should be a great opening match”

Elliot Dee, Rob Evans and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover on the bench with Adam Beard and Aaron Wainwright completing the forward contingent.  Tomos Williams, uncapped Evans and Scarlets wing Steff Evans complete the replacements.

WALES SQUAD TO PLAY SCOTLAND (Saturday November 3 KO 14.45)

  1. Leigh Halfpenny (78 Caps)
  2. George North (76 Caps)
  3. Jonathan Davies (65 Caps)
  4. Hadleigh Parkes (8 Caps)
  5. Luke Morgan (*UNCAPPED)
  6. Gareth Anscombe (18 Caps)
  7. Gareth Davies (33 Davies)
  8. Nicky Smith (21 Caps)
  9. Ken Owens (57 Caps)
  10. Dillon Lewis (5 Caps)
  11. Cory Hill (18 Caps)
  12. Alun Wyn Jones (117 Caps) (CAPT)
  13. Dan Lydiate (62 Caps)
  14. Just Tipuric (57 Caps)
  15. Ross Moriarty (23 Caps)

REPLACEMENTS:

  1. Elliot Dee (10 Caps)
  2. Rob Evans (27 Caps)
  3. Leon Brown (3 Caps)
  4. Adam Beard (4 Caps)
  5. Aaron Wainwright (1 Cap)
  6. Tomos Williams (2 Caps)
  7. Jarrod Evans (UNCAPPED)
  8. Steff Evans (10 Caps)

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Wales 10 – Ireland 34: Clinical Ireland outfox wasteful Wales

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RUGBY is often described as a game of inches, where the tiniest errors significantly affect games’ outcomes. That was the case on Saturday, where Ireland won convincingly by making fewer unforced errors than Wales.

As a contest, the game was all but over in the first 25 minutes. Ireland did nothing flash, nothing extraordinary. They were just better at the basics. It’s what you’d expect when the first-ranked team in the world play the ninth.

Conceding a try after two minutes was a bad start, but again and again thereafter, Wales either coughed the ball up or conceded penalties in clutch positions.

Ireland’s game management showed the confidence of being a settled group under a single coach with a defined game plan. Ireland’s players constantly worked off the ball to close gaps and shut off running lines. The Irish slowed down the Welsh ball and applied pressure with clinical precision. The Irish scrum and lineout gave the visitors’ backline time to play.

Whatever the Welsh game plan was before Wayne Pivac left as the coach (answers on a postcard for that one), on Saturday, Wales showed signs of trying to create a pattern of play based on phase play creating the space to allow Wales’s backs to punch through stretched defensive formations. However, a plan is only as good as its execution. And Wales repeatedly created good positions only to make sometimes desperately disappointing mistakes.

Twice Wales had the throw near the Irish line, and twice Irish forwards picked off the ball. On another occasion, Wales went long at the lineout in their half, only for the ball to land on the Irish side. Add that to a crooked throw in a promising position, and Wales lost momentum at crucial stages.
Ireland stormed into an early lead with their first attack ending with Number Eight Doris smashing his way over from close range. It got worse six minutes later when James Ryan scored with almost a carbon copy play.

Wales’s best chance of the opening quarter came when Irish full-back Hugo Keenan got to a loose ball over the Irish line before Welsh winger Rio Dyer.

Although Biggar got the home side off the mark with a penalty, within minutes, a telegraphed pass ended in the hands of Lowe, who streaked over unopposed for Ireland’s third try.

24-3 down soon became 27-3 following another Sexton penalty following Welsh indiscipline at the breakdown. Realistically, that score ended the game. However, in the half’s dying moments, Wales again applied pressure. Jac Morgan, who had a good game in a losing cause, crossed the Irish line only to be held up by a strong Irish defence.

It looked grim at half-time. Wales had been disorganised and disjointed, while every time the Irish got the ball in the Welsh half, they looked like they would come away with points.

Whatever Warren Gatland said at half-time got the Welsh players’ attention.

Wales came steaming out of the blocks in the second half, looking better organised and less frantic. Good phase play opened a gap in the Irish midfield, and Liam Williams sped through the gap to touch down near the posts, making Biggar’s conversion a formality. Wales continued to work through the phases, and only an uncharacteristically poor pass from Justin Tipuric spoiled a good chance for Rio Dyer to get a clear run at the Irish line.

Wales still tried to keep up the pressure but lacked accuracy at key moments when cooler heads might have produced more. As if that wasn’t bad enough, with fifteen minutes of normal time to go, Liam Williams was – maybe a little unluckily – yellow-carded for making contact with the ducking, bobbing and weaving Jonny Sexton’s head.

The man advantage was all Ireland needed to break Wales’s stranglehold on the match. They kept kicking for space behind the Welsh midfield and used Bundi Aki as a midfield battering ram to keep the Welsh players tied in at the breakdown. With Wales stretched and gaps appearing in the defensive live, Van der Flier had the simplest of tasks to add a fourth try for Ireland.

As the clock ticked down – and with Wales 34-10 down – the Irish pressed for the score that would give them a record win in Cardiff. Wales tried again to break out for a consolation score, more in hope than expectation, and it was all Ireland when the final whistle blew.

Warren Gatland said he was “strangely not that disappointed” after the game.

The Wales coach said: “The things I’m disappointed with are things we can put right: the slow start and giving away needless penalties. When you look at the game we put ourselves in positions we could’ve taken advantage of. We can take away the positives, look at our second half performance and improve on that.”

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Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister congratulates this year’s award winners

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EVERY nominee for this year’s Lantra Cymru Awards scheme has demonstrated their commitment to lifelong learning and maintaining the highest standards across all areas of working, Welsh Government Minister Lesley Griffiths has said.
The Minister has thanked and congratulated all this year’s award winners as well as the training providers who had nominated them.
The Minister said: “The Lantra Cymru Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the commitment and passion of individuals across Wales. A huge well done to all the nominees, winners and training providers for all of their hard work including to increase efficiency and introduce further innovative ideas into their ways of working.”
Leading Welsh agriculturalist Mr Peter Rees, chair of Lantra Wales, presided over this year’s selection panel, which included Kevin Thomas, Director of Lantra Wales, Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, founder and Managing Partner of Agri Advisor solicitors and agricultural Health and Safety expert Brian Rees, a former chair of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership and a Farming Connect farm safety mentor.
Mr Rees said that the Lantra Cymru Awards was always one of the highlights of the annual Welsh farming calendar, adding that it was testament to all the industry’s rural stakeholders, including colleges and training providers, that despite the current economic challenges within the industry, they had again identified and nominated many outstanding individuals.
“The Lantra Cymru Awards scheme, now in its 28th year, rewards the lifelong learning achievements of the many workers who, through their significant skills and abilities, contribute not only to farming but to the wider rural agenda in Wales, our rural economy and to the communities where they live and work.
“Each nominee’s clear commitment to continuous professional development and achievements within the environmental and land-based sectors, is doing so much to maintain professional, up to date standards within our industry.
“Each one of them is making a significant contribution, not only within their own particular area of working, but to the sustainability and modernisation of Welsh agriculture long term,” said Mr Rees.
Farming Connect is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra Wales and funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

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Funding boost on offer for local sports groups

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INVESTING in grassroots and community sport has led to more than £300,000 being accessed by local clubs in 2022 and this year it could be your chance for a share.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Sport Pembrokeshire helped 55 sports clubs receive a share of £335,388 from Sport Wales via the Be Active Wales Fund grants system last year.

In 2023 there are grants available for a variety of schemes or activities including coach education courses, essential items of equipment, new team start-ups and developing ‘on field’ activities.

Examples from last year include a Sea Cadet unit receiving £16,522 to buy a new safety boat as well as powerboat and safety boat courses, a table tennis club that got £700 for two new tables and a local football club accessed a grant of nearly £8,000 for training courses, balls, bibs, cones and goalposts.

Graham Willcocks at Trefloyne Junior Golf Academy, said: “The grant we received from the Be Active Wales Fund got us off to a flying start. We didn’t have much in the bank so it was a massive leap for us when they provided all the equipment we needed to get youngsters starting to play golf.
“With the support of Alan Jones at Sport Pembrokeshire, it was easy, with a straightforward application process and a really fast turnaround. Without that grant we wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are today.”

Sports Development Link Officer at Sport Pembrokeshire, Alan Jones added: “We would love to hear from any clubs and sports groups, large or small, to see if we can help access some grant funding to support community sport, and encourage people to get in touch.”  

Any sports clubs interested can find out more about the grants from Sport Pembrokeshire and the Sport Wales websites.

Email sport@pembrokeshire.gov.uk for more information and to tell the team about what your club needs and what you would like to do.

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