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Wales duo return to boost Scarlets side for Benetton clash

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WALES internationals Jake Ball and Ryan Elias have been included in the Scarlets team to take on Benetton for the resumption of Guinness PRO14 action on Saturday (15:00 Premier Sports).

Ball and Elias have been released from Wales’ Six Nations squad to get some game-time during the fallow week of the tournament and are among five personnel changes to the Scarlets starting line-up.

Steff Evans has recovered from a dead leg and returns to the No. 11 jersey, taking his place in a back three that also includes fellow Wales international Johnny McNicholl and Ryan Conbeer.

Tyler Morgan and skipper Steff Hughes continue in midfield, while Sam Costelow and Dane Blacker are again the starting half-backs.

Elias packs down alongside Phil Price and Javan Sebastian in the front row, while Ball starts next to Morgan Jones at lock.

In the back row, Sione Kalamfoni and Jac Morgan have been cleared to play. Kalamafoni has recovered from the head knock sustained at home to Cardiff Blues, while Morgan has overcome a knee injury and is set for his first appearance since the Champions Cup win over Bath in December.

Uzair Cassiem switches from No. 8 to blindside flanker.

On the bench, prop Steff Thomas is set for his PRO14 debut and he joins Marc Jones, the fit-again Pieter Scholtz, Sam Lousi and Ed Kennedy as the forward cover.

Will Homer, Dan Jones and Paul Asquith are the backline subs.

Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “We have had a productive few weeks since the Leinster game. It is important that we are patient and we have to build ourselves into the contest, which we did well in a tight affair in horrendous conditions out in Treviso. We need to get the right level of application and we need to execute.

“There is a huge amount to play for in these final four games. Champions Cup places are on the line and it is going to be a real scrap in our Conference.”

Scarlets v Benetton (Parc y Scarlets, 15:00, Premier Sports)
15 Johnny McNicholl; 14 Ryan Conbeer, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Steff Hughes (capt), 11 Steff Evans; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Dane Blacker; 1 Phil Price, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Javan Sebastian, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Morgan Jones, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jac Morgan, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.
Reps: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Ed Kennedy, 21 Will Homer, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Paul Asquith.

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Haverfordwest County ask fans to stay away as football returns to Bridge Meadow

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HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY has asked fans not to attend the Bridge Meadow Stadium today, March 6, as the club restarts its JD Cymru Premier campaign.

The Bluebirds take on Cardiff Met in a game that kicks off at 2:30pm but, like all fixtures in the Cymru Premier, the game is being played behind closed doors.

A club statement asks fans not to congregate outside the stadium and adds that there are ‘rigorous protocols’ for those who must attend.

A spokesperson said: “Haverfordwest County AFC would like to urge all fans to stay at home for (the) fixture against Cardiff Met. For the foreseeable future, all matches will remain behind closed doors.

“The club, along with Welsh Government guidelines, explicitly forbids the congregation of fans outside the stadium to watch the game. There are numerous precautions in place to ensure that those who must attend the game, stick to rigorous protocols to remain safe.

“All match highlights will be available post-match, via Sgorio. We look forward to welcoming fans back to the Bridge Meadow, when it is safe to do so.”

The Club says that this will apply to all future home matches.

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Signed Wales shirts gifted to RNLI go up for auction

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FOLLOWING a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have scored a winning try for the RNLI, gifting six signed rugby shirts to help save lives at sea.

Each rugby shirt has been signed by the full WRU squad and are accompanied by a certificate of authentication – a winning prize for any Welsh rugby fan.

To avoid a ruck for the WRU shirts the charity has placed all six signed shirts on an online auction, ensuring a fair game for all who wish to win the golden prize. The auction will be live until Wednesday, March 31, which allows plenty of time for supporters to bid for the team in red.

Each signed shirt includes Wales Captain, Mumbles RNLI supporter and the most capped international player of all time Alun Wyn Jones; as well as Louis Rees-Zammit, the Man of the Match in the nail-biting Scotland v Wales game.

Nick Evans, RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead said: ‘On behalf of the charity I would like to say a big thank you to the Welsh Rugby Union for donating these fantastic prizes to the RNLI. RNLI volunteers are on call 24-7 and are often called away from important events such as family celebrations – or international rugby tournaments – to respond to the pager if someone is in trouble at sea.

‘Like all charities, 2020 was a challenging year for the RNLI when all traditional fundraising had to stop – all our shops were closed, there were no collections and all events had to be cancelled. This is why we at the RNLI are so grateful to all the team at WRU for their ongoing support. The auction is now live and we would like to encourage all Wales rugby supporters to throw the RNLI a lifeline and place their bid for the winning prize.’

To place a bid or find out more about the charity auction please visit https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/rnliwru.

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Five subs to be allowed for JD Cymru Premier clubs

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THE FAW’s National Leagues Board has confirmed that JD Cymru Premier clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 top-flight season.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

With the JD Cymru Premier set to restart on March 2, the National Leagues Board has approved the use of the rule in the JD Cymru Premier until the end of the current campaign.

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