Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sport

Scarlets great Jonathan Davies awarded testimonial year

Published

on

IT has been confirmed that Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies has been awarded a testimonial year.

‘Foxy’, as he is popularly known, has played 209 games in a Scarlets jersey over 16 seasons, making his debut for the club against Northampton Saints as an eighteen-year-old back in 2006.

From Bancyfelin in Carmarthenshire, Jonathan played his junior club rugby for St Clears and Whitland before coming through the ranks of the Scarlets Academy and going on to become one of the leading centres in world rugby.

He twice toured with the Lions – to Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017), where he was named player of the series in the epic Test battle against the All Blacks. He has also played 96 Tests for Wales, featuring in two Grand Slam-winning sides, a further two championship wins, and two Rugby World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (2019). During his time playing for Wales, Jonathan also had the honour of captaining the national side on four occasions.

After a couple of years in France with Clermont Auvergne, he returned to his home club ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and was an integral member of the Scarlets side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in exhilarating fashion in Dublin that season.

He continues to be an influential figure and role model in the Scarlets squad at the age of 36.

“Never could I have imagined when I was a kid running out onto the field at Stradey Park after the final whistle, trying to get as many player autographs as I could, that I would be lucky enough to become a player myself and play for the Scarlets, let alone more than 200 times,” he said.

“I have made memories that I will never forget whilst wearing the famous Scarlets shirt. From beating London Irish at the Madjeski in Europe, where travelling support was immense, to my favourite moment, winning the league in 2016-17 alongside team-mates who were also friends.

“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for all their support over the years and for awarding me this testimonial year.”

The testimonial year runs from June 2024 to May 2025 and has events planned for Llanelli, Cardiff, London and Dubai. It will also be supporting Jonathan’s chosen charity LATCH, who provide support for children and their families who are being treated by the Oncology Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.

Tim Griffiths, the chair of Jonathan’s testimonial committee, said: “I am proud and honoured to be chair of Jon’s testimonial committee. Jon has been a champion of our national game; one of the modern-day greats of Welsh rugby, who has achieved so much in the jersey of the Scarlets, Wales and the Lions.

“We are looking forward to celebrating all his achievements during an exciting testimonial calendar, while also raising money for the fantastic work of his chosen charity LATCH.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “We wish Jon all the best for his testimonial year. He is a player who has given much to the game, a proud West Walian who became one of the finest centres in world rugby.”

Welsh Rugby Union CEO Abi Tierney added: “Jonathan Davies has been one of Welsh rugby’s greatest servants. At the peak of his powers he was one of the best centres in the world game over a sustained period of time and he is still delighting fans at Parc y Scarlets on a regular basis.

“Certainly, during that successful Lions tour of Australia in 2013, everyone knew he was one of the first names on the team sheet for the Lions coaches and Warren Gatland has regularly, since, named him as one of the best players he has ever coached.

“Jonathan is a credit to his origins, to his family and to the schools and coaches of his youth, always paying them tribute and often back at the clubs and institutions who supported him as a youngster.

“He is a hugely impressive individual, humble about his achievements as one of the finest professional rugby players Wales has produced and he deserves all the accolades and credit that will follow him in his testimonial year with his beloved Scarlets.”

The JD13 first event, a dinner in the Quinnell Lounge at Parc y Scarlets, will also support the Phil Bennett Foundation and take place in June. Full information on that event will follow.

Continue Reading

News

St. Davids Rugby Club bids fond farewell to popular tenants

Published

on

ST DAVIDS Rugby Club has announced with great regret that Carol and Jeff Pick, beloved tenants of the club, are stepping down from their position. The couple, who moved to St. Davids primarily for this opportunity, expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the past year, which they described as an extraordinary experience.

Carol and Jeff took over the tenancy of St. Davids RFC in Pembrokeshire at the end of last summer, a significant period as the rugby season commenced. Unlike most rugby clubs that employ a steward or stewardess, Jeff and Carol owned the tenancy, meaning they managed the entire operation, making decisions that could make or break their venture. Despite the challenges posed by the seasonal influx of St. Davids’ population, which swells from 2,000 to 12,000 during the summer months, they thrived.

Their tenure has been marked by a series of successful initiatives. Jeff’s background as a former player and coach undoubtedly facilitated his integration with the club’s members. Carol’s personal touch was evident through her creative contributions, such as sewing cushions in the club’s colours for the lounge, which added a genuine club feel to the place. The club became a hub of activity with weekend entertainment, including bands, open mic nights, and Carol’s popular Sunday lunches.

In a heartfelt statement, Carol and Jeff shared their appreciation for the warm and welcoming community they have come to cherish. “We have met so many wonderful people and made countless friends; words cannot describe how fantastic this last year has been,” they said.

Although they are leaving their roles as tenants, the couple emphasised their ongoing commitment to the club. Jeff will continue his involvement with the rugby team, and Carol remains a dedicated supporter. They extended their thanks to the club’s committee for their unwavering support and for providing them with this unique opportunity.

Special acknowledgements were given to Jack, the coaches, and the players, who have contributed to the fun and camaraderie within the club. Carol and Jeff also highlighted the continuous support from the mini and juniors section, as well as the St. Davids Penknife Club, whose encouragement has been invaluable.

The couple expressed their gratitude to all the club members and patrons who have visited for a pint, noting the joy they found in these interactions. They also thanked their friends and family for visiting and sharing in the wonderful times at the club.

Concluding their message, Carol and Jeff expressed their sincere thanks to everyone who has supported them throughout the year. “It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all the friends we’ve made,” they remarked.

The departure of Carol and Jeff marks the end of a cherished chapter at St. Davids Rugby Club, but their legacy of friendship and community spirit will undoubtedly endure. Visitors and club members alike will fondly remember their contributions and the vibrant atmosphere they helped create.

Continue Reading

News

United Airlines unveils limited-edition Wrexham AFC amenity kits and pyjamas

Published

on

UNITED AIRLINES has introduced new, limited-edition Wrexham AFC amenity kits and pyjamas to commemorate the Welsh football team’s recent promotion to League One. The launch coincides with the rising global popularity of the Emmy award-winning series “Welcome to Wrexham”, which is currently streaming on Hulu.

Starting from 1st June, passengers flying in United’s premium cabins on long-haul international routes will receive these exclusive Wrexham AFC-inspired kits. These kits will include essential travel items such as an eye mask, toothbrush, and toothpaste, along with exclusive Therabody skincare products. Additionally, United Polaris® customers on flights of 14 hours or longer will be provided with pyjamas designed to resemble the team’s uniforms, featuring a long-sleeve Wrexham red shirt and grey pants.

Co-chairmen of Wrexham AFC, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, revealed these new onboard amenities in a recently released video. The kits and pyjamas, designed in collaboration with United Airlines, draw inspiration from Wrexham AFC’s crest, jerseys, and overall aesthetic.

Amenity Kit Details:

  • United x Wrexham AFC Amenity Case: For United Polaris business class travellers, this reusable toiletry case features the Wrexham crest and is available in red, black, or white. It includes a top handle, wrap-around zipper, and a loop for hanging.
  • United x Wrexham AFC Amenity Pouch: For United Premium Plus® travellers, this slim, zippered pouch also features the Wrexham crest and is available in the same colour options. It is designed to fit easily into a carry-on bag.
  • United x Wrexham AFC Pyjamas: Available to United Polaris business class passengers on flights of 14 hours or more, this lightweight pyjama set includes a red, long-sleeve shirt with the Wrexham AFC and United logos on the front and grey pants with the United logo on the hip.

Each amenity kit contains a United-exclusive Therabody hand cream, lip balm, cleansing towelette, bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, and socks. The Polaris kit also includes Therabody eye serum, face spray, tissues, and a United pen.

Peter Wolkowski, Director of Onboard Product Design at United, commented, “With our amenity kits, we always aim to provide customers with products that make their travel journey more comfortable as well as create one-of-a-kind keepsakes for them to enjoy well beyond their flight. Wrexham’s story is one that has been documented and celebrated these last few years, so we’re thrilled to now give United customers team-branded gear they won’t be able to find anywhere else.”

United Airlines, a prominent sponsor of Wrexham AFC, will continue to support the club throughout the 2024-2025 season. The airline is the front-of-jersey sponsor for both the men’s and women’s teams, and it will also sponsor the club’s North American summer tour, providing exclusive offerings to MileagePlus members.

Continue Reading

News

Former Wales rugby international Tonia Antoniazzi MP joins Scarlets Board

Published

on

THE Scarlets have said this week that they are delighted to announce that Gower MP and former Wales international Tonia Antoniazzi will join the Scarlets Board of Directors with immediate effect.

Tonia, who is Gower’s first female MP, has served at Westminster since June 2017. She was born and raised along with two brothers in Llanelli by her Welsh Mum and Welsh-Italian father who supported her love of sport from an early age.

With Welsh-Italian sporting heritage, she won nine caps for Wales as a prop playing internationally for three years as well as playing for Benetton Treviso’s women’s team in 1993-94 while studying in Venice. Her last cap as tighthead prop came in 1999. She participated in the first Women’s World Cup in 1998. From a rugby family, her brother Julian Antoniazzi played for Welsh Schools seven times in 1985.

Tonia is a passionate, lifelong Scarlets supporter after spending many years growing up supporting rugby on the terraces at Stradey Park. Alongside her international rugby career, Tonia is a graduate in French and Italian from Exeter University with a PGCE from Cardiff University, teaching in Wigan before returning home to West Wales as Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Ysgol Bryngwyn in Llanelli.

Since retiring from international rugby and forging a successful political career, she is now a leading light and voice championing the growth and development of women’s and girls’ rugby across Wales, campaigning for greater equality, engagement, participation and inclusion at all levels in the game.

Scarlets are building for the future which includes a fresh focus on the girls’ and women’s game, with four players in the U18s Women’s Six Nations squad, a number of girls from the region selected for the West Wales Professional Development Centre (PDC) plus 70 girls are registered with the Scarlets’ first U17s Development Squad.

Scarlets’ Academy coaches support training and development of Celtic Challenge Cup side Brython Thunder who are based at Parc y Scarlets. Two of the region’s age-grade teams Teifi Timberwolves and Taf Valley Tigers were U16s and U18s WRU National plate winners this season. Increased demand from girls to play rugby is now being supported with 32 WRU clusters supporting players from U7s to U18s across communities in Wales.

Scarlets’ Community Foundation rugby programme also continues to go from strength-to-strength delivering wide-ranging rugby inclusion events to support social benefit across its region and engaging with more than 20,000 young people this season.

Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: “It truly is an honour and privilege for me and I am very excited to be joining the Scarlets Board. Scarlets rugby has been at the heart of my family and my upbringing and it was that love and passion for this club that led me to play for Wales. Now I am continuing to support the sport that means so much to me off the pitch.

“Rugby is ours. It’s everybody’s sport and everybody matters in our game.”

“We need a plurality of voices in Welsh rugby to take the game forward. There is a new era of rugby dawning in Wales and Scarlets rugby has a bright future within it, I want to be part of that and ensure everyone connected with our game has a voice and is well-represented.”

“I am passionate about bringing more women into the game. I feel very strongly that when I was a young girl, I had to look up to my brother – and think if he can do it I can do it. Now we can see a future in the sport for young girls to aspire to – with the likes of Alex Callender (from Llanelli), who I used to teach, coming through and winning multiple caps.

“What we need now is to engage more through the women’s and girls’ programmes into clubs to ensure we have more teams and more international players playing their rugby in Wales. When you can see it as a player, you believe you can be it. We need to show our young girls that there is a future for them in rugby in Wales.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “Tonia will bring valued rugby expertise, a strong voice for the women’s game and great governance leadership from her experience and knowledge across international rugby, the educational sector and her parliamentary career.

“Her energy, ambition and passion for Scarlets rugby and the women’s and girl’s game in this region is undeniable. She is a positive driving force who wants to see Scarlets and Welsh rugby thrive now and in the future and is helping spearhead a culture change throughout our game. We are delighted she is joining us at a time when we are restructuring and strengthening our business operations to meet the challenges of the future and we look forward to Tonia’s input and support.”

Tonia lives in Pontarddulais and has a son Jac who is currently studying at Cardiff University.

Continue Reading

News7 hours ago

Sunak calls summer General Election – we vote on July 4

THE UK goes to the polls on Thursday, July 4. The Prime Minister announced the general election date in a...

Community13 hours ago

Lucky dog rescued by lifeboat crew after 250 foot cliff fall

WHIST on a coxswain training exercise on Monday (May 20), the lifeboat Haydn Miller was tasked to Rhossili, following a...

Education16 hours ago

Exciting visit to France for Pembrokeshire school pupils

LAST week, 60 children and 16 teaching staff visited the Bassin d’Arcachon in France as part of a Taith funded...

Business18 hours ago

First drive-thru Starbucks in Pembrokeshire approved

PEMBROKESHIRE is to get its first drive-thru Starbucks coffee shop after a scheme was backed by county planners today, May...

Crime2 days ago

Man accused of making Category A images of a child in caravan park

A HAVERFORDWEST man has appeared before magistrates charged with making six category A images of a child at a caravan...

News2 days ago

Lifeboat crew plucks woman in difficulty from the water

ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch at 10pm on Sunday night (May 19). The Coastguard had received a call...

News3 days ago

Two men arrested following death of Milford Haven woman

POLICE in Milford Haven are investigating after a woman died in the early hours of Friday morning, after the Welsh...

News3 days ago

Milford Haven tops list of UK’s most polluted ports

NEW analysis by Transport & Environment UK (T&E UK) has revealed alarming levels of air pollution from ships at UK...

Charity3 days ago

Therapy dogs delight Bryan Adams and crew at Utilita Arena

HAVERFORDWEST-based charity, Cariad Pet Therapy, received VIP treatment during a special visit to Bryan Adams and his crew at the...

News5 days ago

Anticipation builds for more Northern Lights as solar activity peaks

IN the wake of a mesmerising display of the aurora borealis last weekend, experts predict further celestial spectacles are imminent...

Popular This Week