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Hakin United unveil new warm-up tops

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HAKIN United’s second team has unveiled its new warm-up tops.

The tops are sponsored by Keith and Sandra from Spot On and were presented ahead of the team’s opening game of the Division 2 season last Saturday (Sept 3).

It proved a good omen for the Vikings as they went on to beat Carew seconds 4-2.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Huge thank you to Keith & Sandra from Spot On for the sponsorship of Hakin United Second team warm up tops.”

Sport

Rugby Sevens experts make predictions for Paris 2024 Olympics

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THE Paris 2024 Olympics starts in just a matter of days, with the Rugby Sevens kicking off proceedings on July 24th, just before the official opening ceremony on the 26th. Sell-out crowds are already expected for the men’s and women’s events and there’s already a great deal of anticipation around which nations will end up in the medal tables.

Plenty of eyes are said to be on the likes of Australia and New Zealand in the battle for gold in both the men’s and women’s games. However, the men’s Fiji side will be looking to make it three golds in a row, following their iconic successes in Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021. Additionally, the Argentinian men’s team are being touted as dark horses and some believe the French sides could also capitalise on a home advantage.

This is according to the predictions for this year’s Olympic Sevens from a number of experts involved in the sevens game – including current and former players and coaches – in an exclusive feature with rugby website, RugbyPass. Alongside this, several of those interviewed here have touted a selection of players they believe will be standout performers across the tournaments.

Gareth Baber and Mike Friday

Gareth Baber, the coach who famously guided the Fiji men’s side to their second gold medal in Tokyo 2020, and the current USA Men’s Sevens team coach, Mike Friday, have both predicted that the respective sides where they have strong allegiances are the ones who are in with a chance of gold.

Gareth said: “I know people will be worried about Fiji, given their track record. There’s work to be done there, but they certainly can medal. The country is steeped in sevens rugby and they’ve consistently produced some players who can really do something.”

Mike stated: “I think we’re [USA] going to be a bolt out of the blue – we have the capability to cause absolute havoc.”

Both went on to champion the antipodean and French sides too:

Gareth said: “New Zealand will be positioning themselves as real medal contenders too. I’d also back France to do well, but their major challenge is constructing a frame to help their players do their best stuff in front of the home crowd.”

Mike explained: “France in both the men’s and the women’s are contenders. But looking just at the women’s, it’s going to be the likes of Australia and New Zealand that are pushing for gold.”

Mike then singled out several players to watch from the men’s and women’s events: “You’ve got the Levi sisters who are fantastic, Jorja Miller is a real catalyst too for New Zealand, but they’ve also got Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman – a core of excellent players. On the men’s side, Marcos Moneta for Argentina, Dupont – just because it’s him – Terry Kennedy from Ireland is just a proper baller and will make things happen.”

Katy Daley-McLean MBE and Rachael Burford

Former England and Team GB Women’s Sevens stars, Katy Daley-McLean and Rachael Burford gave these medal predictions for the women’s events:

Katy said: “Australia and New Zealand are big favourites, but with their style of rugby, I think Canada and France will be in the mix there as well.” Rachael commented: “France – although under a lot of pressure – are at their best when they’re at home…Australia and New Zealand are coming into the Olympics very strong and a lot of people are expecting them to battle it out for the gold, but it’ll depend on who stays fit for them.”

Amongst their player recommendations, they also advised to watch out for Ellie Kildunne and Megan Jones of Team GB::

Katy explained: “I reckon if she [Ellie] smashes it in the Olympics and the next Rugby World Cup, she has the potential to become a household name.” While Rachael believes: “Meg will be massive for GB, her presence will transform that team. She alone will increase the ability of the whole squad.”

Tom Mitchell and Luke Treharne

Tom Mitchell, former England and Team GB Sevens captain, and Luke Treharne, former Team GB Sevens player and current Hong Kong 7s skills coach, offered these views:

Tom stated: “Looking at Argentina, Marcos Moneta who has come back from injury to make the squad is an absolute gun when fully firing…it’s also hard to look beyond Australia and New Zealand.”

Luke said: “For the women, I’ve been toying between the two juggernauts of Australia and New Zealand, but I think New Zealand will get the gold. France will get the bronze. As for the men, I think it’s going to go something like Argentina for gold, Fiji silver and Ireland bronze.”

Naya Tapper and Jodie Ounsley

RugbyPass also got the views of former England and Team GB Women’s Sevens wing, Jodie Ounsley, as well as current USA Women’s Sevens captain, Naya Tapper.

Jodie understandably chose her former teammates to go all the way: “I have to back the GB women’s side, but Australia and New Zealand are so strong and are definitely teams to look out for.” Naya – who will be competing this summer – also demonstrated some national pride by backing her country for Olympics success: “For the women’s and men’s side I manifest USA taking the gold. Let’s hope we can come back to this conversation and praise how great I am at predictions.”

Jodie was another expert to express admiration for Team GB’s Ellie Kildunne: “She’s coming back to sevens and she’s going to bring so many fans with her and I know she will make a great impact and be a storm at the Olympics. She will get people talking for sure.” Naya went on to highlight plenty of names for the women’s events: “Ilona Maher, Maddi Levi, Teagan Levi, Michaela Blyde, Portia Woodman, Anne-Cécile Ciofani, Séraphine Okemba – with how much talent we have in the game across all teams I could go on and on.”The schedule for the men’s sevens runs from July 24 – 27th – with a break in the middle for the opening ceremony – and the women’s event begins on July 28th and concludes on July 30th. If these predictions are to be believed, fans and neutrals alike could be set to see a hotly contested series. For further details, you can find the full selection of predictions and ‘ones to watch’ from these experts here: https://www.rugbypass.com/sevens/olympics/mens-and-womens-expert-predictions/

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James Williams glorious at Goodwood

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ORANGE AMPS rally driver James Williams topped the time sheets at the prestigious 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed Forest Rally stage last weekend (11-14 July).

The 26-year-old Welshman in only his second visit to the Festival rubbed shoulders with the stars and cars from rallying’s illustrious history – including factory drivers and teams from Hyundai, Toyota and Ford going against the Orange Amps-backed Hyundai i20 Rally2 driver from Newcastle Emlyn.

Across the four day festival, James took several passengers around the chalk-surfaced rally stage in the grounds of Lord March’s Goodwood Estate. Willing passengers included sponsors, media and guests – all leaving the experience with broad smiles following trepidation just minutes before the start line.

Around the displays and showboating, daily shootout sessions were the highlight of the day, with the short 2.5km stage packed with festival goers and millions more watching around the world via the event LIVE stream on YouTube and other social media platforms.

For the serious task of fastest time of the weekend, Williams was joined in the turbo-charged, four-wheel-drive Hyundai by regular co-driver from the British Rally Championship Ross Whittock – who helped set the tone for the bobsleigh style run.

The Goodwood Forest Rally Stage – may be short, but is quick in places, with trees just centremetres from the racing line, yet technical and tight and twisty in other sections.

To win the shootout, times were added together from the four days of the event with the combined time the winner. James had been fighting for the quickest time all weekend, with three outright fastest times from four shootouts, but it was to be on Sunday afternoon when the times tumbled in the Sussex downs. The fastest time of the weekend came on the final run with a blistering 2:28.1 and a combined total of 10:01.00. Williams would go on to receive the award for fastest time of the weekend in front of Goodwood House – with large crowds in attendance.

“I just love Goodwood,” grinned Williams. “The atmosphere and celebration of motorsport is like nothing else. I was lining up behind Group B icons of the sport with World Rally Championship cars going into the stage behind me, it’s pretty surreal!

“We had a ball this year – we really wanted to try and get the fastest time, and that was the target I set myself at the start of the year when I got invited back. I am really chuffed to have done that as it’s a massive honour for me and the team. I was also delighted to take out some of my personal backers and supporters to give them a taste of what rallying is all about. It was fantastic to put a smile on so many faces.

“I would like to thank the entire team at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, all the marshals and all the team who put the event together. It was an incredible weekend and I hope I can get invited back in 2025, so I can try and defend the title!”

James and Ross will return to British Rally Championship action next month with the Grampian Forest Rally on the 9/10 August – where James will look to return to the podium on the Scottish gravel stages.

James would like to thank his team of loyal partners: Orange Amps, Fast Forward Logistics, Hyundai Power Products, Rally Cover, Pirelli, Performance 1st Coaching, Composites Cymru, West Wales Lubricants, Palletline, Craftric Technology, Speedline Corse, Castle Designs, Charlies Stores, ND Civils, Progressive Safety Equipment, Huw Morris Plant Hire , Hide Away Wales, West Coast Finance, Ceir Castle Motors and Vital Equipment. If you would like to become a partner, get in touch with the team today –[email protected].

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BBC Cymru Wales announces new line-up of sports content

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BBC Cymru Wales has announced an exciting new fixture list of content for the forthcoming sporting season. With sports fans looking for immediate coverage of their team, keeping up to date with the latest news and analysis, the broadcaster will be introducing new content on iPlayer, Sounds and online.

Under the Scrum V and Feast of Football brands BBC Cymru Wales will be launching two new digital first, multi-platform programmes – designed for audiences to watch or listen to on their phones, tablets and laptops as well as on television or BBC iPlayer.

The multi-platform Scrum V show will feature big names talking rugby in a relaxed and no holds barred environment, presented by Lauren Jenkins.

And of course there’ll be plenty of live action as Scrum V’s first URC game of the season kicks off on Friday, 20 September when Cardiff take on Zebre. Sarra Elgan will bring all the action from the Welsh clubs every Friday evening on BBC Two Wales, following all four Welsh regions in their quest for this year’s title.  

With audiences wanting their highlights quickly, Scrum V’s evening highlights show will no longer be on Sunday nights.  Instead, highlights will be available shortly after the final whistles of all Welsh regional matches online and on Scrum V’s social channels.  These highlights will also be combined and shown as one comprehensive package on BBC Wales TV and iPlayer. And the Scrum V Podcast continues weekly on BBC Sounds with Gareth Rhys Owen.

Other new shows under the Scrum V banner this season include Scrum V Top 5s which sees Mammoth star and diehard rugby fan Mike Bubbins inviting guests to choose iconic moments and characters from the game. Among those featured in this eight-part series is Sam Warburton who reveals some very unlikely choices for his Top 5 Teammates.

Football fans also have a new multi-platform show. With a bumper autumn of international football approaching, an eight part series of Feast of Football will have unparalleled access into the national squad – capturing all the excitement and the big talking points of the Welsh game.

Presented by former Wales captain Ashley Williams, this will be a must watch for football fans and will tap into the spirit and passion of the Red Wall.  Filmed at the Football Association of Wales’s headquarters on the eve of the men’s and women’s internationals, the show will feature interviews and exclusive access to players from both camps, as well as short films from around Wales.

Ashley Williams said: “I’m really excited to be presenting Feast of Football. We’ve got great access to the squads and we’ll be giving fans a brilliant insight into Welsh football and talking about the things that matter to them. We want them to feel they’re right at the heart of the camp and part of the story.”

BBC Cymru Wales is also increasing its online sports coverage with more team topic pages and live text pages while a new BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds series this autumn – Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red – presented by Wales’s most capped footballer Jess Fishlock will chart the growth of women’s football.

Carolyn Hitt, Head of Sport at BBC Cymru Wales said: “Scrum V is our iconic rugby brand and will remain at the heart of our sports coverage, with content throughout the week offering analysis and predictions, timely highlights as well as marking the remarkable moments. BBC Wales is proud to have brought Scrum V to audiences for almost 30 years and our aim is to capture the interest and imagination of a new generation of rugby fans as well as rewarding our longstanding audiences with new content.”

“As the game evolves and the way we consume sport changes, we’re looking to provide more instant coverage, courtesy of our new digital formats. Rugby and football fans can rest assured that the new offer will bring the latest news, views and analysis to their laptop, smart phone and TV.

“I’m delighted that from next season we can bring more football to fans across Wales.  Feast of Football will expand with a podcast and iPlayer and TV versions. Feast of Football will talk Welsh football in all its glory and in the slightly less glorious times. 

“It’s also true that the BBC, like other broadcasters is having to cut its cloth in line with its budgets. Increased costs across the board, as well as our ambition to cover a broader range of sport means we’re having to focus where we spend our money and ensure we’re giving our audience the sport coverage they want in the places they want to enjoy it.”

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