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England rugby legends warn not to write off Wales ahead of Six Nations clash

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AHEAD of this weekend’s crunch Six Nations match between England and Wales, two legends of the English game, Ben Youngs and George Kruis, have had their say on the game – ultimately warning that the Welsh should never be written off. 

Speaking as guests on ex-Scotland rugby international Jim Hamilton’s podcast, The Big Jim Show, they offered their thoughts on the highly anticipated game at Twickenham on Saturday between the two rivals. The pair also assessed England’s chances at this year’s Six Nations Championship following the side’s win against Italy in round one.

Both players warned England to never write off the Welsh side, despite the disappointing loss Warren Gatland’s men had against Scotland last week in Cardiff. Youngs, a three-time Six Nations winner, believes that the side will be keen to bounce back after defeat and will go into the game with nothing to lose. 

He said: “With Wales, I think this weekend, they’re coming to Twickenham and will essentially look at it as a free swing. Gatland will take all the pressure off them and tell how they’re going to do it and all the pressure is on them [England].

“Wales never go away, they always hang in there and have enough individual brilliance and flair to create opportunities. I think it makes for a great game. With England and Wales, no one really knows where their ceiling is yet, so it’s a good shootout really.” 

Wales will be out to avenge the loss against England against Cardiff last year, the first at the Principality Stadium since 2017, and will look to spring an upset by beating England at Twickenham for the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Kruis who won 45 caps and is currently a consultant to the England national side warns to never underestimate a Welsh team and for England to expect a physical battle. Kruis said: “I remember coming home from the Millennium Stadium, there were always scraps and inside that pack battle was ferocious.

“Wales don’t give up. Sometimes you want a team to give up around the sixty-minute mark and they definitely don’t, so you’ll have that in the back of your mind. They run a lot, they keep the ball on the field a lot…all the obvious Gatland plays from the last 10 years or so still ring true. You know they’re going to work you.” 

Speaking on the chances of England in the tournament and the side’s prospects of completing the coveted Grand Slam, the two were confident but believe that England can go all the way. 

Youngs, who called time on his international career following last year’s Rugby World Cup, believes the current England side has great talent and could produce a more expansive game as the tournament grows. He said: “As an England fan, you’ve got a crop of youngsters coming through and a blend of experience that’s going to help them. I want to see the same team coming out and expand on what they did at the weekend. With every game you get better in the Six Nations, the same team you see in round one isn’t the same in round five.”

Kruis – also a three-time Six Nations winner with England – believes his old side can go all the way this year when asked on who will win: “England, firstly and I believe that. I think we’ve got a good team. 

“Playing at Twickenham, it’s the first home game for us, we’ve got a decent young team, it’s pure excitement. We did well at the world cup, there’s no doubt about it… this is a good opportunity to get the fans on board, play good rugby and put a bit of a stamp on it.”

Additional and exclusive interviews, commentary and insights about the Six Nations and other rugby tournaments can be found here via RugbyPassTV.

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Pembrokeshire stands against Israeli apartheid and Genocide

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PALESTINE solidarity groups in Pembrokeshire and West Wales are mobilising for a powerful protest in Haverfordwest, Castle Square, this Saturday 20th April at 2pm. They aim to vehemently condemn the relentless Israeli onslaught on Gaza and send a clear message to the UK government and local MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb: End the complicity now! We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to arms sales that fuel this brutal oppression.

The Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli forces, following the forcible displacement of 750,000 Palestinians (almost half the population) in 1947-49 in order to establish the state of Israel. Israel’s current assault on Gaza is an escalation of the ongoing Nakba and threatens to be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. The international community has an immediate responsibility to intervene to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing today. Any delay in implementing practical measures constitutes complicity and/or participation in the ongoing Nakba.

This rally is a collective outcry against the crimes perpetrated by Israel and a rallying cry for the boycott of Israeli products.

“It’s sickeningly hypocritical that Israel strikes nations and communities first, claims victimhood when faced with resistance, and then receives unwavering support from the U.S., the UK, and Germany!” lamented one protester.

“For too long, the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s flagrant violations of human rights, granting it impunity while innocent lives are lost.”

“Six months of relentless violence. Six months of Israel slaughtering innocent Palestinians. Six months of Israel killing over 14,000 children! That’s an average of around 76 children a day and what has our government done? Profited from arms sales, turning a blind eye to the bloodshed,” remarked another protester.

This protest is a clarion call to all who stand for justice: It’s time to disrupt the status quo and challenge our complicit government. “We will never give up,” declared a participant. “To dismantle apartheid, we must disrupt the everyday and refuse to be complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity!”

Join us at Castle Square at 2pm this Saturday to lend your voice to the 2 million people who suffer from a forced famine and brutal occupation in Gaza. Together, we will demand justice, accountability, and an immediate end to the bloodshed, the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston

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A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven.

Dragon LNG which is situated near the site said that the fire was not related to their operation and confirmed that the that emergency services were at the scene.

Residents living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed whilst the incident is being dealt with.

“We are aware of a fire in Waterston with the emergency services present,” said a spokesperson for Dragon LNG.

“The incident is not related to Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy. We are monitoring the situation and are co-ordinating with the emergency services.”

(Images: M Cavaney/Herald)

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Oxfam to close Haverfordwest shop amid asbestos concerns

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OXFAMGreat Britain is set to shutter its profitable store in Haverfordwest, which currently brings in £25,000 annually, due to unforeseen costs related to asbestos removal. The closure date remains undecided, leaving managers Derrick and Mark uncertain about the future. A major sale is planned to clear out stock, starting with a 50% discount on donated items before escalating to a fire sale.

The charity has faced longstanding issues with asbestos in the building’s upper floors, which now require £60,000+ in removal costs. This expense will be charged to the shop’s account within a year, rendering the operation financially unviable. Although aware of the asbestos for years, Oxfam GB’s management has continually deferred addressing the problem. Alternatives such as relocating have been dismissed by the charity, citing that finding new premises would take two years and the renovation costs would still need coverage in the interim.

The Haverfordwest shop is a vital community hub, known for its extensive range of quality second-hand books, music, clothes, and homewares. It is also the largest second-hand bookshop in Pembrokeshire. The store is celebrated for its inviting atmosphere and the significant social value it provides, offering volunteering opportunities and work experience placements that often lead to employment.

Despite the shop’s profitability and community role, Oxfam GB’s decision comes as a blow to local efforts to combat poverty. Sarah Rees, Head of Oxfam Cymru, has previously highlighted the region’s “shameful and stubbornly high poverty rate.” The shop not only supports Oxfam’s global initiatives but also directly contributes to alleviating local poverty.

The decision has sparked controversy among volunteers and the community, with many questioning Oxfam’s commitment to its stated mission. Rosamund Aubrey, a volunteer, expressed her disappointment and stated she would reconsider her support for the organization due to this decision.

The forthcoming closure marks a significant loss for Haverfordwest, leaving both staff and the community awaiting further updates from Oxfam GB.

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