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Pembrokeshire Schools rugby present county ties

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PEMBROKESHIRE SCHOOLS RUGBY have presented their under 15’s team with their county tie’s after the season came to a sudden halt when the country was put into lockdown back in March.

Taking to their Facebook page, the organisation said: “Congratulations to the Pembrokeshire Schools Boys U15s from the 2019/20 season who were presented their ties over the last week. We apologise for the delay, as we had hoped to have a more formal event but with current restrictions it was not possible.

“We would like to once again congratulate all the boys on their efforts from last season, for which seems a long time ago now, but will hopefully live long in the memory of coaches and players. We were fortunate to have a strong and diverse cohort of boys this year who showed a lot of ability on the field, as well a positive attitude off it. One thing that really stood out this year was the attitude of boys who were not always involved or selected, but continued to travel, support the team and compete at training. This display of commitment and attitude epitomised the work ethic and unity of the team, one for which as coaches we are truly thankful. Despite the abrupt end of the season, we can undoubtedly categories the year as a great success and delighted to have been a part of the boys’ rugby journey. We hope that the recommencement of rugby is now closer than it is further away, and look forward to seeing the boys progress in the future and staying involved in the game.

“As stated previously the desire and commitment of ALL the boys this year has been unquestionable, however would like to recognise and acknowledge some of the achievements from last year.”

Individual awards presented to players.

Despite a halt to the season – The under 15’s were presented with their county ties

The club Awards and Recognition are as follows;

Players Player – A prestigious award as voted by his peers goes to Macs Page this year. Macs came into the squad whilst at U14s and showed great ability, with his desire to take on defenders and score tries. Macs has evolved his game this last year, playing predominately at full back, with an unmatched ability to kick the ball out of hand as well as off the kicking T and counter attack. Macs continued to score many match defining scores this year and was an exciting player to watch.

Forward of the year – As voted by the coaches forward of the year goes to Alfie Evans-Fecci. The forward pack has been tremendously competitive this year with many able players. However, Alfie in particular has shown great versatility and attitude in make the transition form number 8 to loose head prop with support from his school and county. In addition to this Alfie has continued to make an impact around the field most notable for his strong carries and big hits. We hope he continues to excel in this transition.

Back of the year – As voted by the coaches back of the year goes to Iolo Griffiths. Likewise with the forward pack the competition in the backline has been fierce. Iolo has impressed with his illusive and direct running ball hand, as well his competitiveness and line speed in defense. A notable memory of Iolo has his excellent interception away to Carmarthen School which he received the ball in his own 22 showing great athleticism to score in the oppositions corner. A very talented all round sportsman indeed.

Co-Captains this year – We would like to congratulate both James Price and Rhys Richards for their work as co-captains this year. As many will know the role of captain goes beyond the performances on the field, for which they both excelled on and off the pitch. We have been really impressed with the communication and leadership these boys have shown, which can often go unmissed. We firmly believe the attitude and personality of these boys set a high standard for the rest of the boys to follow and was big contribution to our success last year

RAG honors – Finally we would like to congratulate backrow Jac Delaney on his achievements being involved in the Scarlets West set and later full combined Scarlets U16s squad last year, all a year young. Jac was also involved at U14s and has developed both on and off the field over the last few years, bringing great leadership to the squad and physicality. We hope he continues to develop in this vein and gain further honors.

The club added: “A massive thanks goes to the coaching and school staff who have made last years program possible, ensuring that the boys have the best opportunity on and off the field. We would like to acknowledge that this is voluntary role for all coaches, and we are grateful for their commitment and hope that the boys appreciate it. Thanks to co head coaches Chris Shousha and Steve Martin, Aled Waters, Joe Poole, Morgan Lewis, Gethin Vobe and the school staff of schools who help co-ordinate, develop and forward players.

Ysgol Greenhill School players with their tie’s

“Thanks goes to the parents who have supported the program, we appreciate it is a task to ferry the boys to training and support at games as well as helping cater for some games. You feel the delight and dismay at every score just like us, but have always conducted yourselves in a fine manner and shown positive enthusiasm to support the boys and coaches.

“Thanks also goes to our sponsors; Edwards Bros (Tiers Cross), Tees R us (Haverfordwest), SAW Cymru and The Gourmet Pig. The sponsorship these generous businesses have given is truly invaluable.

“A final thanks goes to Tenby United RFC who played host for the majority of our home fixtures, despite rain, sun or hail the pitch was always in excellent condition and you showed the boys great hospitality and courtesy.

“We imagine some form of rugby will develop in the new year, and encourage the boys to begin to the prepare themselves and to continue to train so, if they aren’t already. We are unsure how the pathway will unfold, but regardless of this we hope to see the boys engaged in the future whether it be at school, club, youth, college or university. We also look forward to welcoming players from Year 10 and 9 whenever that may be when rugby resumes. In the meantime, we hope you all remain safe and well with the build up to Christmas.”

Ysgol Bro Gwaun have paid individual support for their students.

A spokesperson from the school said: “Congratulations to the following boys that received their county ties this week.

“Di awn Jac Delaney, Ethan Sapsford, Dan Page, Bryn Thomas, Dylan Scott and Dan Cleary.

“The boys were part of a successful Pembrokeshire Schools squad that reached the semi finals of the National Morgan Griffiths Plate competition before the season was suspended.

“These young men have also been fantastic role models and ambassadors for rugby in the local community. We wish them all the best in the future on and off the field. “

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Scarlets’ late surge sees off Ospreys

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Pro-14 Conference B

Ospreys 14 – Scarlets 16

 
A LATE try from Angus O’Brien secured the derby day spoils in a nail-biting Guinness PRO14 Boxing Day clash against the Ospreys.
The Ospreys, playing as the official ‘home’ team at Parc y Scarlets, had led for the majority of a tense contest.
But with 71 minutes on the clock, a superb off-load from replacement Blade Thomson paved the way for full-back O’Brien to slice through and dive over for the crucial score.
Man of the match Dan Jones added the conversion to put the Scarlets in front for the first time and the West Walians were able to finish the match on the front foot to claim the annual festive bragging rights and a crucial win to keep them in the hunt in the Conference B standings.
O’Brien hadn’t been named in the original match-day 23, but was brought in at the 11th hour as a replacement for Johnny McNicholl.
In blustery conditions, Scarlets enjoyed the early pressure, but despite hammering away at the Ospreys line were unable to come away with any points.
Instead, it was the Ospreys who were first on the board after 14 minutes through the boot of fly-half Stephen Myler.
The opening quarter was proving a cagey affair with both sides unable to get any momentum going.
A moment of individual brilliance from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams, who dummied and sprinted clear from 40 metres, extended the Ospreys’ lead on 22 minutes, but the Scarlets’ response was swift with Jones landing a penalty straight from the kick-off.
Jones hit the upright with another attempt, then a pin-point cross-field kick from Steff Hughes just evaded the grasp of wing Steff Evans with the line at his mercy.
A powerful scrum on the stroke of half-time led to a long-range penalty chance, but O’Brien’s strike drifted wide with the Ospreys going in ahead 8-3 at the break.
Myler extended his side’s lead early in the second half, but Jones kept Scarlets in it with his kicking out of hand and off the floor.
Two more penalties from the Carmarthen fly-half to one from Myler made it 14-9 going into the final 10 minutes.
Then the Scarlets struck.
With Thomson having a big impact off the bench, the back-rower plucked a ball out of the sky as the Scarlets surged forward. He was involved again soon after, producing a sublime pass to O’Brien who cut a great angle to the posts.
With only two points in it, the Scarlets showed their composure to make their way downfield and set up camp in ‘home’ territory for the final minutes, denying the Ospreys any chance to snatch the win.

Glenn Delaney reflected on the absence of fans from the stadium.
“You go back 12 months and there were 15,000 people here and I don’t think I have experienced anything like it. This place was electric.
“I say it every week, we are very fortunate to be in the position we are and we are only here by virtue of the supporters of this great club. We want the fans back here as soon as possible.
“Hopefully, they found a chance to shout at the TV screens, get involved and share the experience. The derby season is passionate, the only thing we are missing is the people. We must get the people back into the game, they would have loved the occasion.”
On the performance, while Glenn Delaney was ‘delighted’ with the win, he added: “There is plenty for us to work on. We stayed in the game and that’s what you have to do in a derby.
“There were a lot of things we weren’t happy about in terms of our skillsets and penalty count, we were very ill-disciplined and we need to correct that. We were putting pressure on ourselves. We were trying to play and we were quite close on a couple of occasions, a couple of pass-kicks almost went to hand.
“Probably not having a game for a week or so showed, our timing was a bit off; we have had a couple of disjointed weeks, we looked a bit rusty. I thought the Ospreys were excellent, put us under pressure and took their points well.”
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Scarlets slay Dragons

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Pro-14 Conference B
Scarlets 20 – Dragons 3
SCARLETS started 2021 as they ended 2020 with a Welsh derby victory at Parc y Scarlets.
Tries from man-of-the-match Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Sam Costelow, combined with the boot of Dan Jones ensured Glenn Delaney’s side made it a festive double to move them up to second in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14 standings.
The Scarlets weren’t at their free-flowing best and will be frustrated by the amount of handling errors and ill-discipline in their performance, but the winning run continues ahead of next week’s clash with Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital.
Despite a rare dry night in Llanelli, the opening 40 minutes was littered with errors from both sides and it meant the game had little flow.
The Scarlets enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, but too often passes failed to go to hand.
It was the Dragons who were first on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty from the boot of ex-Scarlet Josh Lewis.
Wales lock Jake Ball limped off moments later with a knee injury to be replaced by Tevita Ratuva, while Wyn Jones, on his 100th appearance, also left the field for a head assessment.
The outstanding Kalamafoni made a powerful surge up the middle of the field to put the Scarlets on the offensive, but again a promising move broke down.
Dan Jones levelled matters on 29 minutes, then added another penalty on the stroke of half-time after a quick tap from Kieran Hardy.
The Scarlets continued to enjoy the better of play in the second period, but had to wait until 57 minutes for the game’s first try.
More pressure led to Gareth Davies being taken out off the ball and Dragons lock Matthew Screech being shown yellow by referee Nigel Owens.
Scarlets went for the corner instead of the shot at goal and a well-worked training move saw Kalamafoni charge across the whitewash for his first try in Scarlets colours, a score converted by Jones.
With former Scarlet Rhodri Williams adding a spark, Dragons looked for an immediate response, but a brilliant turnover from Ratuva snuffed out the threat.
Then in the final play, replacement Sam Costelow picked up a loose ball, sped through the gap and around the final defender for a superb solo score, with the Wales U20s fly-half adding the conversion for good measure.
After the hard-fought win, Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney said: “I suppose it was a compelling contest of a different nature. You saw a lot of kicking battles going on, neither team wanted to give the other counter-attacking opportunities.
“I thought defensively we were very resolute, I never felt we were in danger on our goal-line, it was a bit stop-start with a couple of drop balls, but I am delighted to get the win and we did create a bit more in the second half.
“With these derby games, I am learning every time we play one, they all seem to be pretty much like this and perhaps bring out the best and worst in us because of the individual competition and contest.
“We would have liked to have done a bit more with the ball and the attacking breakdown with us was poor, the Dragons turned over a bit of ball there so we need to be better in that area and make sure when we make the breaks we are able to capitalise.”

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Wales Women building cohesion at start of big year

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Cohesion was the focus for new Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams during his first training camp of 2021.

Having been in post just over a month, Abrahams has spent time watching the Welsh performances in the Allianz Premier 15s and getting to know players and staff but the two-day camp was a welcome opportunity for quality face to face time with an enlarged training squad.

“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.

“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”

Abrahams is buoyed by what he’s seen so far. The vast majority of this training squad play in the Allianz Premiership and our players aren’t just making up the numbers. They’re putting down some big markers – just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a Player of the Match recently and Jaz Joyce who was Player of the Month for December. We’re really proud of how well our players are doing, it’s great for the programme and those experiences are just going to make them better.”

Siwan Lillicrap added, “It’s been nice to get together so soon in the New Year – the first step in a huge year ahead. The focus this weekend was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad.

“I think we absolutely achieved that, the relationships are developing along with a confidence in the squad . It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”

Lillicrap welcomed the input of the new-look coaching team, former Wales captain and Colwyn Bay head coach Rachel Taylor coming in as national skills coach and former Ireland international and Penclawdd forwards coach Sophie Spence joining the set-up as Wales’ World Rugby coaching intern.

“Warren has been very inspirational for us already. It feels like he’s been in post much longer as we’ve done a lot of work on zoom already. It’s great to have Rachel on board. She’s a role model for many of us with what’s she’s done on the field as Wales captain and off it as a coach and Sophie too with her international experience and coaching knowledge.”

Training squad:
Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Meg Webb, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams

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