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Narberth Under 16s host touring Irish side

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ON Saturday (Apr 9) Narberth Under 16s hosted a touring side from Ireland and supporters who attended were treated to a close game of rugby.

The visitors’ squad of 37 players and committee men came from Mallow which is a town in County Cork, Ireland, approximately thirty-five kilometres north of Cork.

The previous day the team had played Llangwm and on Sunday they were due to play Haverfordwest. A very busy weekend was made possible only by them bring a large squad allowing them to rotate players and guarantee that each lad would get game time in at least two matches in quick succession.

Narberth were only able to field 12 players and so the Mallow Committee very sportingly loaned three of their players to the Narberth squad.

In the first half Mallow kicked off looking into the Sun playing East to West on a superbly maintained dry pitch.

After 10 minutes the Otters Under 16’s scored under the posts following a good passing sequence right to left amongst the backs. The try scorer wearing the 14 shirt was speedy Irish lad Reilly O’Hanlon. The conversion by scrum half Olly Hough took the score to 7-0.

Later, from a cleaned out ruck near the five metre line the outside half broke through on the left side and Aeron William scored. The try was nearly converted by Olly Hough.

In another break on the left-hand wing another try was scored  by the Irish player Reilly O’Hanlon  in Narberth colours and it was converted by Ollie Hough. The score after 15 minutes 19-0.

Then another try by the Otters after 20 mins converted by the scrum half Olly made the score near the end of the first 30 minute half 26-0.

The rotated squad from the 37 Irish players with fresh legs started to dominate the tiring Welsh team and they scored after some skilful jinking and swerving moves by the No 12 the inside centre which was converted by the number 10 outside Half Callum Lyon’s. After 25 minutes the score was 26-7.

In the second half 10 minutes into the game the number eight for Narberth Aaron Williams made a breakout from a ruck a few moments after the Irish Loose Head prop had been slightly injured and winded.

The conversion attempt 8 metres in from the left touch line was narrowly missed and the score stood at 31-7. But it was not over for the Irish stalwarts. They rallied and battled on gaining dominance in the forward.

During the closing minutes of the game there was a further score by the Irish player No 10 Outside half Evan Sheahan but this was not converted. Score 31-12.

Not to be outdone, and now playing back in his Irish green colours Reilly O’Hanlon scored with 5 minutes to go, converted Evan Sheahan. Score 31-19.

The dominance of the Irish team which had enough squad members to rotate players continued right up to the last minute where Reilly and Evan completed their double act by scoring and converting. The Final score was 31-26.

This was a very entertaining game played in a truly sportsman-like way and the game was a credit to the skills of both sides. After the match the teams enjoyed a hot meal with refreshments in the Clubhouse and Narberth team coach Ian Hough commented on the good standard of play before his wife Cathy Macphee, who had helped organise the reception, was presented with a memento by the Irish Chairman Mike Boyle.

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Wales international Johnny Williams signs new Scarlets contract

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THE SCARLETS said this week that they are delighted to announce that Wales international centre Johnny Williams has signed a new contract with the club.

The 27-year-old joined the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons in 2020 and after just four appearances earned his first Wales cap, against Georgia in Llanelli.

A powerful-carrying presence in the Scarlets midfield, he has since made 46 appearances, scoring six tries, including a memorable interception in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne.

He has won seven caps for Wales, featuring at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Johnny has been a key member of the side in recent years. He’s a player who is a dynamic carrier, is physical with and without the ball, has a good skill set and has an impact on every game he’s involved in.

“He is an important cog in how we look to play and it’s fantastic that he has agreed a new contract with the club. I know the fans will be thrilled with this news and, along with the likes of Eddie James, Joe Roberts and with Macs Page coming through, we have a lot of talent in that midfield pool for the coming years.”

Johnny Williams said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. It has been a frustrating season in terms of results, but I am excited by the potential of the squad we are putting together.

“A lot of young boys have put their hands up and we showed during the final few games of the season the kind of rugby we can produce.

“Pre-season will be around before we know it and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, ready for a big start to next season.”

Johnny is the latest player to recommit to the Scarlets ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, following Tonga lock Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams.

Scarlets have also strengthened their squad with the addition of hooker Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), prop Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), full-back Ellis Mee (Nottingham), lock Max Douglas (Toyota Canon Eagles), Wales international prop Henry Thomas (Castres Olympique) and back-three player Blair Murray (Canterbury).

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Osasuna welcomes Haverfordwest County A.F.C.

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THE PRESIDENT of Haverfordwest County AFC, Rob Edwards, visited the Navarrese club to learn more about the work the Club is doing on and off the field

Pamplona (Wednesday, June 19, 2024) – Club Atlético Osasuna welcomed Haverfordwest County A.F.C. president Rob Edwards this morning. During his visit, the president of the Cymru Premier team, the top tier of Welsh football, met with Rojillo president Luis Sabalza to talk about the work Osasuna is doing on and off the field. Later, he visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the job done at the academy level. Today’s meeting was the Union of European Clubs Board members’ first meeting.

For the president of the Navarrese club, this type of encounter is essential as it showcases the growth Osasuna is having at a global level. “I think it is crucial because, recently, it seemed as if Osasuna only had relevance in our region and our community. However, Osasuna has gained worldwide notoriety through the Spanish Supercup and the Conference League. It has brought us a ton of joy that many clubs and executives want to come to know Osasuna and the work we do on and off the field and with our academy because it shows that we are not only doing good; we are doing great. Our goal is to make Osasuna known worldwide,” Sabalza said.

Haverfordwest County A.F.C. sees Osasuna as a model club for growth. “We are a small club, and we are looking to grow on and off the pitch, as well as our infrastructure, fan engagement, and community reach. It is always fascinating how bigger clubs can fix these problems… The objectives and solutions are very similar despite the size of the club compared to ours. Many clubs outside the elite European group will have the same challenges. It is great to understand how they overcome them and how they continue to grow and develop,” Edwards mentioned.

It is not only Osasuna’s front office work that caught the attention of the Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman but also the club’s work at the academy level. Edwards visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the academy. While in Tajonar, he met with Tajonar director Ángel Alcalde and Tajonar technical director Patxi Puñal, who presented him with ‘Método Tajonar,’ the academy’s work method.

“[Osasuna and Haverfordwest County] share the same ethos of bringing through young players to the first team and giving young players a pathway into a career in football. I think the mindset of a club like Osasuna and what we are trying to achieve in Wales at our club is very similar. It’s been really interesting to come and understand how you work with the local community and how you engage to fill up the stadium and create such an amazing atmosphere,” Edwards highlighted.

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Haverfordwest County officials to visit Atlético Osasuna for strategic discussions

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NEXT week, Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman Robb Edwards and COO Beccy Nuttall will travel to Spain to visit Club Atlético Osasuna. During their visit, they will engage in high-level discussions with Osasuna’s upper management, focusing on community and fan engagement strategies.

In April, both Haverfordwest County A.F.C. and Club Atlético Osasuna were appointed to the Executive Board of the Union of European Clubs (UEC), an international organisation established in April 2023. The UEC was founded to provide a voice to the 92% of professional football clubs that often go unheard. The Union aims to democratise decision-making processes in European football, ensuring that each club has a vote and that the destiny of the sport is not determined solely by the wealthiest clubs on the continent.

“We look forward to this meeting with Osasuna and hope our collaboration with other clubs continues to grow,” said Edwards. The upcoming visit underscores the commitment of both clubs to fostering stronger ties and working collaboratively to shape the future of European football.

The discussions will likely cover a range of topics, from enhancing fan experiences to developing community outreach programmes, reflecting the shared values and objectives of both clubs within the UEC framework.

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