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Scotland in narrow triumph over Wales in nail-biting Six Nations clash

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SCOTLAND triumphed over Wales in a nail-biting Guinness Men’s Six Nations clash at Cardiff, securing their first victory on Welsh soil since 2002 and retaining the Doddie Weir Cup. This win, reminiscent of the resolution of the week’s news featuring ‘Honshu’, the escaped Japanese macaque from the Highland Wildlife Park, symbolised Scotland lifting a longstanding burden with their triumph at the Principality Stadium, a venue that had eluded them for over two decades.

The match was a spectacle of rugby prowess and strategic gameplay, with Wales edging the try count four to three. However, Scotland clinched the victory by the slimmest of margins in a contest that will be remembered for its sheer intensity and exceptional display of skill and determination.

The game commenced with both teams displaying palpable tension, indicative of Wales’ search for a rare championship win and Scotland’s quest to overcome years of disappointments in Cardiff. Under the leadership of Finn Russell, known for his unorthodox play but demonstrating unexpected maturity, Scotland orchestrated a first-half performance that laid the groundwork for their historic win.

Scotland’s assertive play was rewarded early on when Wales was penalised for offside, allowing Russell to open the scoring. The visitors’ relentless pressure soon paid off with Pierre Schoeman’s try, further extended by Russell’s precision kicking. Wales mounted attacks through Nick Tompkins, but Scotland’s defence remained unyielding, showcasing their tactical discipline and resilience.

The narrative of Scotland’s dominance continued into the second half, with Duhan van der Merwe and Russell combining to extend their lead. However, the Welsh spirit, undeterred by the deficit, ignited a remarkable comeback, with tries from James Botham, Rio Dyer, Aaron Wainwright, and debutant Alex Mann bringing the match to a tantalisingly close finish.

Despite Wales’ valiant efforts and a tense final few minutes, Scotland managed to secure possession and defend their slender lead, culminating in a victory that marks a significant milestone in their Six Nations campaign.

The match was not just a testament to Scotland’s strategic evolution and resilience but also highlighted individual brilliance, with Aaron Wainwright’s performance earning him the Guinness Player of the Match. This encounter, witnessed by a crowd of 74,500, will undoubtedly be etched in the annals of Six Nations history as a classic, symbolising Scotland’s resurgence and the unyielding spirit of Welsh rugby.

Scotland’s victory in Cardiff signals not just the end of a long-awaited triumph but the beginning of a promising campaign in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations, setting the stage for an enthralling season ahead.

Full-time: Wales 26-27 Scotland

Wales: Cameron Winnett; Rio Dyer, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies; Corey Domachowski, Ryan Elias, Leon Brown, Dafydd Jenkins (capt), Adam Beard, James Botham, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Kemsley Mathias, Keiron Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Alex Mann, Tomos Williams, Ioan Lloyd, Mason Grady.

Scotland: Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Warriors); Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu (all Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby); Finn Russell (Bath Rugby, captain), Ben White (Toulon); Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Scott Cummings (all Glasgow Warriors), Luke Crosbie, Jamie Ritchie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors).

Replacements: Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby) (for Crosbie, 50 mins, temp.), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs) (for Schoeman, 62 mins), Elliot Millar-Mills (Northampton Saints) (for Z Fagerson, 70 mins), Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby) (for Gray, 31 mins), Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) (for Ritchie, 62 mins), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) (for White, 70 mins), Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby) Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) ((for Crosbie, 72 mins).

Referee: Ben O’Keefe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Doleman and Angus Mabey (both New Zealand)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

Crowd: 74,500

Guinness Player of the Match: Aaron Wainwright (Wales)

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Second row Max Douglas becomes latest Scarlets signing

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THE SCARLETS say they are delighted to secure the signature of highly-rated Australian forward Max Douglas.

The 24-year-old has just completed his second season with the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan.

Before his move to the Japanese top division, the 6ft 7in Douglas, who has played in the second row and back row, featured for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the Manly club in Sydney.

He will link up with the Scarlets in the summer.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Max is a young, athletic second row who has experience in Super Rugby and more recently in Japan’s top division.

“He is comfortable with the ball hand, which suits how we are looking to play and is excited about coming on board and being part of the Scarlets journey over the coming years.

“Max is another strong addition to our forward pack following the signings of Marnus van der Merwe and Alec Hepburn and we are looking forward to welcoming him here to Parc y Scarlets this summer.”

Max Douglas said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Scarlets. This is a club with a strong history and I’m excited at the challenge of trying to contribute to that.

“I’m looking to bring over some of the experiences and learnings I’ve gained from my time in Australia and Japan to hopefully add to what is a really strong playing group.

“I can’t wait to meet all the players and staff and get into our work.”

Douglas is the Scarlets’ fourth signing to be announced ahead of the 2024-25 campaign with Exeter Chiefs prop Alec Hepburn, Toyota Cheetahs hooker Marnus van der Merwe and Nottingham full-back Ellis Mee on their way to West Wales.

Tongan second row Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams have also signed new contracts with the club.

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Castrol Team aims to ‘bounce back’ from Jim Clark Rally retirement

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THE CASTROL MEM RALLY TEAM is vowing to bounce back stronger than ever on the next round of the Probite British Rally Championship – especially with a second Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 joining its motorsport fleet soon – after what was looking like another victory turned into retirement on the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally.

Chris Ingram started extremely well, setting the fastest time on the opening four stages to establish a healthy 23.1 second lead in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. The 2019 FIA European rally champion eased off on the unfamiliar closed roads as darkness fell and the rain continued to make the surface extremely slippery, settling for second fastest time on SS5 and 6 and going into Friday’s overnight halt with an 8.6 second advantage. 
 
Co-driven by Alex Kihurani, the Suisscourtage-backed driver set another fastest time on Saturday’s opening stage before a slow puncture saw him stop with damaged suspension after SS8.
 
Meirion Evans lost time when he spun his Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 on SS2, initiating some immediate set up changes in first service to better suit the wet and slippery conditions. He and co-driver Jonathan Jackson completed Leg 1 in a strong eighth position and had just moved up to sixth when the car’s power steering pump sprung an oil leak and the Welshman was forced to call it a day after SS9.
 
Meirion Evans said: “Unfortunately it wasn’t the end to the rally that we had hoped for. We were beginning to make tracks up the leaderboard and had a chance of getting on the podium, but at the end of Saturday’s third stage we had a problem with the power steering which meant that we couldn’t continue. Whilst we might have been able to limp through the next stage, the issue would have been too big to fix in service anyway, so we decided to call it a day. It’s a shame that Chris retired from the lead as it was looking like another very good result for the team, but I’m sure we’ll bounce back stronger on the next round.”
 
Chris Ingram said: “We had a very strong start to the rally and had controlled our pace well to build a comfortable lead ahead of previous Jim Clark Rally winner Keith Cronin. It was thoroughly enjoyable in the car. Unfortunately, after setting another fastest time on Saturday’s opening stage, on the next stage we picked up a slow puncture and went off the road under braking, which broke the front left suspension. It’s a tough result for the team, but the potential showed makes me very excited for the rest of the season and the switch to the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2.”
 
Round 4 of the Probite British Rally Championship is the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally on 9 August, when the Castrol MEM Rally Team will field two Toyota GR Yaris Rally2s for Meirion Evans/Jonathan Jackson and Chris Ingram/Alex Kihurani.

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Red Bull Hardline Wales confirms rider list for 2024

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RED BULL Hardline, known as the most challenging downhill mountain bike race world wide, confirms the final rider list for this year’s Wales event. 

Following its first event overseas, with a stop Down Under, Red Bull Hardline returns to its home in Wales’ Dyfi valley to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The brainchild of Dan Atherton a decade ago, 34 of the brightest and best talents in downhill mountain biking are set to descend on the north Wales course. With the 2023 event sadly curtailed by the Welsh weather, there’s old scores to settle and it’s all to play for in 2024.

Confirmed Rider List:

NameNationality
Ronan DunneIRL
Bernard KerrUK
Brook MacDonaldNZL
Charlie HattonUK
Adam BraytonUK
Craig EvansUK
Theo ErlangsenSA
Matteo IniguezFRA
Juanfer VelezCOL
Gaetan VigeFRA
Jim MonroUK
Matt JonesUK
Edgar BrioleFRA
George BranniganNZ
Sam GaleNZ
Jono JonesUK
Sam BlenkinsopNZ
Brendan FaircloughUK
Josh BrycelandUK
Dennis LuffmanUK
Sam HockenhullUK
Josh LoweUK
Taylor VernonUK
Thibault LalyFRA
Thomas GenonBEL
Szymon GodziekPOL
Sebastian HolguinCOL
Alex StorrUK
Vincent TupinFRA
Harry MolloyUK
Matteo IniguezFRA

Female riders will begin training on Monday, giving them ample time to familiarise themselves with the new course, with Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira and Hannah Bergmann all set to continue to push the boundaries of their sport once again. Louise-Anna Ferguson will be returning to Wales fresh from her success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, putting on a gutsy performance to finish a full finals race run despite an early crash. New to Red Bull Hardline, Vaea Verbeeck will make her first appearance, bringing fresh fire power to the women’s lineup 

Following his stand-out success at Red Bull Hardline Tasmania, Ronan Dunne will be taking to the start line with aims of achieving the double. Nipping at his heels will be three-time winner Bernard Kerr, who placed second in Tasmania back in February. 2017 champion Craig Evans is back once again and eager to replicate his success of 7 years previous.

The breathtaking race will be broadcasted live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, fans can enjoy the week’s best action from course walk and practice on the Red Bull Bike YouTube ahead of the main event. 

For further Red Bull Hardline rider updates and for more information visit www.redbull.com/hardline and make sure to save the link to Red Bull Bike YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@RedBullBike/featured to not miss out on the week’s best action.

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