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Wales U20 name squad to face Ireland

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WALES head coach Byron Hayward has announced his squad to face Ireland at Musgrave Park on Friday in the opening fixture of the U20 Six Nations. (KO 8pm, S4C)

Cardiff Rugby flanker Alex Mann returns as captain and is among six starters who are playing in their second campaign along with Ospreys centre Joe Hawkins who starts from the bench.

Mann’s regional teammates Efan Daniel and Nathan Evans return as hooker and tighthead prop respectively while Dragons’ Joe Peard features in the second row.

Scarlets scrum half Harri Williams and regional colleague Eddie James who slots in at inside centre are the only backs who played in last year’s championship.

Hayward is under no illusions at the task that awaits his young side in Cork.

“Ireland are always a strong side. They have a great system bringing players through so it is going to be a massive challenge for us but one we’re looking forward to,” he said.

“It’s simply just great to see how much the boys are looking forward to it – you can see it in the squad, they are so looking forward to just playing rugby in a meaningful game in front of a crowd.

“People forget that the players have lost nearly two years of their development and for a lot of the boys this could be their only chance of playing and representing their country.”

“It has been difficult with the boys not playing [due to Covid] and that can become monotonous, especially when you haven’t got an end game. But we managed to get in two friendly games which was massive for us and I know the boys enjoyed them and performed well in them and all things considering, I’m looking forward to the weekend as much as the players.”

The home side will start as firm favourites and haven’t lost to Wales since a 38-41 defeat at Donnybrook in 2018 but Hayward isn’t letting recent history sway belief within the squad.

“All we’ve talked about this week is focussing on us and what we can control and that has been since the start of the week. We respect Ireland but we’re not really paying too much attention to them and just focussing on getting our game right,” he said.

Wales U20 side to face Ireland, Musgrave Park, Friday, February 4:

15 Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)

14 Harri Huston (Ospreys)

13 Bryn Bradley (Harlequins)

12 Eddie James (Scarlets)

11 Oli Andrew (Dragons)

10 Daniel Edwards (Ospreys)

9 Harri Williams (Scarlets);

1 Joe Cowell (Cardiff Met)

2 Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby)

3 Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby)

4 Joe Peard (Dragons)

5 Lewis Jones (Ospreys)

6 Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – CAPT)

7 Ethan Fackrell (Cardiff Rugby)

8 Ben Moa (Dragons)

Replacements:

16 Morgan Vennes (Ealing Trailfinders)

17 Rhys Barratt (Cardiff Rugby)

18 Ellis Fackrell (Ospreys)

19 Benji Williams (Opsreys)

20 Tom Cowan (Bath Rugby)

21 Morgan Lloyd (Dragons)

22 Jac Lloyd (Bristol Bears)

23 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys)

Sport

Swifts eyes on double.

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Monkton Swifts reserves have blown away the second division this season and now have the double in their sights. They face Merlins Bridge reserves in the semi final of the second division cup and lived up to their favourites tag.

Swifts won comfortably with key player Butland getting three assists and Josh Sture grabbing a brace. Waterman and Rhys Sture added the other goals as outstanding Monkton won 4-0.

Herbrandston and Johnston played in the other semi final and this was a much harder fixture to call. The promoted Herbie a younger and perhaps less physical outfit in comparison to the Tigers. Johnston quickly took control of the game when they found themselves two up after just 29 minutes.

However when Scott Murray was shown a red card just eight minutes later, Herbie would have been confident of staging a comeback. Despite being a man light, Johnston held Herbie until the final minute of the 90, when Alex Ouzman gave Herbie late hope. The Tigers held firm however and progress to the final where they will be underdogs. A tag that I’m sure the players and manager Steven Allen won’t mind too much.

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Tenby hit five against downbeat Bridge

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On a beautiful day in Tenby, the hosts welcomed Merlins Bridge to The Clicketts, fresh from their West Wales semi final defeat midweek.

The Bridge squad was missing some influential players after picking up some injuries and the visiting team asked questions over the fitness of the pitch, which, according to the Bridge management, was too hard.

The referee waved these away and the game was on, with the Tenby squad clearly thinking they were already in the heads of the Bridge team.

Almost straight from Kick off Tenby set their stall out with some great attacking play, which Jerome Mansbridge benefitted from in just the second minute putting the home team ahead.

The bridge players weren’t at the races and Tenby capitalised scoring a further 4 first half goals, including a Mansbridge hat trick, leaving the away team bewildered and 5-0 down at half time.

What could have been a hugely embarrassing defeat for a team that harboured title hopes at the beginning of the season, turned around somewhat at half time, when Dai Davies, the club captain, almost singlehandedly dragged them to a much higher level in the second half, ensuring his players kept their discipline and worked hard against a very good Tenby team. Undoubtedly Merlin’s Bridge were the better team in the second period, but the damage had already been done in the first half, and despite Bridges best efforts, the score remained 5-0 to the home team.

In a game which saw Tenby jump to 4th in the league, they can be hugely proud of their season and will look to build on that for their next in Division one.

A fantastic game on a beautiful day with a good home crowd watching, the team from the Clicketts will be justifiably happy with their afternoons work.

Tenby 5-0 Merlins Bridge.

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Preseli poses a challenge for novice crews

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THE END of April will see the popular novice night rally organised by the Teifi Valley Motor Club being held in Pembrokeshire. On the weekend of 27th and 28th April, Rali Bro Preseli will see 75 novice crews tackling the winding and challenging roads that Pembrokeshire has to offer.

Clerks of the Course, father and son Richard and Jason Davies along with Aled Richards have a terrific route lined up for competitors. Starting as usual at the Crymych Mart, the route will appeal to all novice drivers and navigators.

“It will offer a bit of everything. It will be challenging but easy to follow with some whites thrown in the mix. Aled has designed the whole route and we’ve done the donkey work,” said Jason, now in his second year as Clerk of the Course.

As regular competitors, Jason and Richard wanted to give something back to the sport and they enjoy being on the organising side of the things.

Jason, who won the Bro Preseli with his father in 2013, explained: “We’ve competed in the Preseli on several occasions, and we decided to give something back to the sport and that’s why dad and I thought it would be a good idea to help.

“It’s interesting to see how it all comes together and the work involved, and there’s a lot of that,”

He also won the event with Tim Hand in 2016 and was fourth overall in 2019.

Aled Richards, Joint Clerk of the Course, knows the routes of Rali Bro Preseli like the back of his hand having only ever missed it once since its formation in 2003. He’s driven on four of them in 2005 – 2008 with the best result of a 4th place with Arwel Jenkins in the navigator seat.

Aled has been Chief Marshal on Rali Bro Preseli since 2013 before moving on to being Clerk of the Course this year and competitors can look forward to a great event.

Aled told the Herald: “This is the first time I’ve been Clerk of the Course, but we have a good team with Dylan Davies as Chief Marshal and Olwen Davies as Secretary.

“I live some 30 miles away from the actual route, but we’ve been around it twice and I’m confident it will be a good yet challenging night. Some of the whites are currently waterlogged but the farmers have been brilliant and offered to help clear the tracks before the event and we are very grateful.”

The rally, kindly sponsored by Arjay Factors and Home James Taxis, will have four official Spectator Points on the night and the locations will be available at signing on.

The Clerks of the Course and the Teifi Valley Motor Club would like to thank all those who have helped to organise the event – landowners, homes en route, petrol at Brian Llewellyn a’i Ferched, and the start and finish venues – Crymych Mart and the Teifi Waterside Hotel.

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