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Wales Women continue to build with key appointments

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FORMER Wales back row Geraint Lewis and former Bristol Bears’ Athletic Performance Coach Sam Dodge have joined Warren Abrahams’ Wales Women coaching team as assistant coach (forwards) and physical performance lead respectively.

Lewis, who, as a WRU performance coach was part of the Wales Women coaching team throughout last season alongside other performance commitments, will now focus solely on this role as Wales Women prepare for the rescheduled Women’s Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Prior to joining Bristol Bears, where he played a key part in their European Challenge Cup and domestic success in recent years, Sam Dodge worked as a WRU strength and conditioning coach for RGC academy and also supported Wales Women.

WRU General Manager, Women and Girls, Charlotte Wathan said, “As we look to accelerate the development of the women’s performance programme, building a strong, dynamic team is a key objective. We’re recruiting people with expertise and knowledge within their field in order to support our long-term aim of closing the performance gap with the top nations in international women’s rugby.

Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams said, “These are very exciting appointments. Geraint is experienced in the women’s programme already and his in-depth knowledge as a forwards coach, and his line-out nous in particular will be vital for the programme going forward. He brings an added dimension to the coaching team and the more diverse we are as a unit, the more exceptional we will become as a coaching group.

“Sam too is a brilliant appointment. He is an exceptional strength and conditioning talent with a solid philosophy and has experienced a winning performance environment at Bristol which we will gain from in the women’s game. Having cut his teeth with Wales Women’s as an intern, it’s great to see him back in the programme as we strive to raise standards across the women’s game in Wales.”

Geraint Lewis said, “I always feel honoured to be part of any Welsh national side and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of Warren’s coaching team at such an exciting time for the women’s game internationally.

“I learned a lot from my time with the women’s programme last season and I hope to use that experience to make a greater impact this time around. I’ve worked with some fantastic individuals in my career but it’s always good to work with new people as I continue to develop as a coach.”

Lewis is looking forward to being part of the new-look Women’s Six Nations in April.

“It will be exciting to play in a stand-alone tournament and in a new format too. Playing France will give us a great benchmark as to where we are as a team and Ireland are improving all the time. With the play-off game at the end too, these games will be vital after a year without international fixtures and ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September.”

Sam Dodge, who will work with WRU Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon with the aim of creating a world-class physical performance programme for female players said, “Having thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bristol, I’m very excited by the new challenge of this role.

“There is enormous potential in the women’s game in Wales, and with the new coaching team in place and the WRU’s investment into the female game, there is huge scope to make a big difference in a relatively short amount of time. We have some talented players and excellent athletes in Wales and my aim is to build a world-leading national programme to ensure there is no stone unturned to help the players reach their full potential.

Sport

Bush qualifies for Paralympic games

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PEMBROKESHIRE’s Para-taekwondo star Matt Bush has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic games this summer.

At the European Paralympic Qualification tournament, Bush, who is the current world champion, beat Hungary’s Zoltan Kiss 29-1 in the +75kg final.

Para-taekwondo will make its debut at this summer’s Paralympics with the competition set to take place from September 2-4.

Bush, from St Clears, became Britain’s first ever world champion in the sport in 2019 began his latest tournament in fine style, seeing off Roman Ivaniuk of Ukraine 38-2 in the semi-final.

Matt told BBC Sport that it felt ‘so good’ to have secured his spot in the team.

The heavyweight athlete has made quite the mark on the mats. He has medalled at the Korean Open, Oceania Para Taekwondo Championships and the Pan America Para Taekwondo Open.

The GB team for Tokyo will be officially announced later this summer.

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Sport

Lawrenny through in Village Cup

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LAWRENNY are through to the next round of the Village Cup after they beat Llandysul on Sunday (May 9).

Both teams were rained off the previous day but some good work meant that the game was able to go ahead.

Llandysul batted first but were bowled out for 82 in 26.3 overs as Jamie Lewis took five wickets for the visitors.

He went on to finish with figures of 5-22 from his seven overs while the home side’s top scorer was captain Llew Hughes who made a score of 20.

Lawrenny did not have it all their own way in their reply as Rhys Jones bowled well to finish with figures of 3-10.

However, an excellent knock of 52 from Harry Thomas steered Lawrenny to their target inside the 24th over.

Elsewhere, Carew’s game away at Drefach was called off while Cresselly had already received a bye to the next round.

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Sport

Lawrenny earn big win over Whitland

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LAWRENNY got their 2021 season off to the perfect start on Saturday (May 1) as they beat Whitland by 189 runs.

Whitland won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side piled on the runs before being bowled out for 264.

Kyle Marsh top scored with a score of 81 while Kurtis Mars also scored 45.

Tom Cole added 32 and James Phillips chipped in with a score of 29 as they batted well.

Wayne Howells and Jonathan Thomas finished with identical figures of 2-27 as Whitland’s bowling did at least keep the score below 300.

Whitland knew they would need to bat well to knock off the runs needed but came up against Ryan Morton who took four wickets for the loss of 17 runs.

Kurtis Marsh also claimed two wickets without conceding any runs as the visitors chances got smaller and smaller.

Geraint Jones did score 30 for Whitland but that was as good as it got as they were bowled out for just 75.

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