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Nantgaredig wilt in Burry Port heat

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Burry Port 40

Nantgeredig 0

Uncontested: Burry Port secure line out ball

Uncontested: Burry Port secure line out ball

IT IS LOVELY to be beside the seaside and that is exactly where the Herald Sports Team were on Saturday (Oct 22) as we continued our random odyssey around the playing fields of Carmarthenshire to seek out some of the finest games of rugby known to men and women.

(Burry Port RFC ladies rugby team is doing very well, thank you, beating Merthyr Ladies 49-17 in their last game).

On paper, this game promised to be keenly contested by both sides.

Unbeaten Nantgaredig were above Burry Port in the league going into the game and they have put some pretty hefty scores over a number of clubs in recent weeks. Maybe it was the hot October sunshine, to which the boys from the Costa del Tyisha are well-accustomed, but it was clear that Nantgaredig didn’t bargain on the heat from the Burry Port boys.

It was Burry Port who came off the blocks quickest, with Dylan Evans and Duane Evans making some fine runs that put the Nantgaredig defence on the back foot. The pressure paid off and the visitors succumbed as Adam Rudall crossed for the first after 10 minutes, finishing off a good move cutting back inside and scoring close to the posts. Ben Williams converted to make it 7-0 to Burry Port.

Hooker Iwan Roberts was next to cross the line and Ben Williams did the honours again, making the score 14-0 to Burry Port. The home team scored again after 30 minutes through their scrum half. That was also converted to take the score to 21-0. Six minutes later and flanker Tom Rees went over in the corner to make the score 28-0 to Burry Port at half time.

The second half was very entertaining despite the numerous penalties, a few yellow cards and the occasional argy bargy, which the assembled crowd appeared to find entertaining.

Three players sin binned for varying offences had the crowd baying for more after every suspicious tackle. Thankfully, the referee opted for some stern talking, which the majority of players responded to.

Nantgaredig did have more possession but they failed to capitalise.

There is no substitute for sheer hard work and determination.

Burry Port could have easily taken their collective foot off the gas, but sitting back on their lead did not figure in the mindset of the men in green. They kept up the pressure and were rewarded with further tries from hooker Iwan Roberts who crashed over in the corner. Ben Williams hit the post with the conversion.

As the Burry Port subs came on, they ramped up the pressure, sending Tom Bowen on a run. With a side-step on the final defender, he scored near the posts and Williams duly converted to make the final score, Burry Port 40 – Nantgaredig 0 and a bonus point to boot.

In fairness to Nantgaredig, they played a fair amount of running rugby themselves and got to within an arms length of the Burry Port try line on numerous occasions. However, Burry Port were on fire and proved too damn hot for the visitors in the end.

Burry Port host St Clears next weekend in the third round of the Bowl, a competition they won last season in a memorable final in Cardiff last May.

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Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final

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Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni have been handed their Scarlets’ European debuts for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol (8.15pm UK time).

Both summer signings are included in a side showing five changes to the line-up that took the field against the Dragons in the Scarlets last match of the Guinness PRO14 season.

Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to face his former side, linking up with Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in an all-international back three.

Williams and Steff Hughes continue their midfield combination, while Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has recovered from injury to partner Dan Jones at half-back.

Skipper Ken Owens, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee pack down in the front row and behind them Tongan international Sam Lousi starts at lock alongside Jake Ball.

In a reshuffled back-row, the PRO14’s turnover king Josh Macleod gets the nod at openside;  Kalamafoni, who featured for Leicester Tigers in the pool stages of the tournament, wears the No. 8 jersey and Scotland international Blade Thomson has recovered from an Achilles issue to start at blindside.

On the bench, Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Javan Sebastian provide front-row cover with Lewis Rawlins and James Davies the other forward replacements. Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien and Tyler Morgan cover the backs. Morgan is set to make his first Scarlets appearance since joining from the Dragons.

The Scarlets and Toulon faced each other twice during the pool stages. A last-gasp converted try grabbed a 17-16 victory for the French side in November. The three-times European champions then claimed a crucial 27-15 win at Parc y Scarlets in January to ensure they topped the group. 

Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is a final for us. If you win three finals in a row you win a trophy. We are that far away from achieving the objective we all set out upon 12 to 13 months ago. It would be lovely to finish it off the right way. Whenever you get the opportunity to play for a trophy you have got to be very respectful and take it deadly serious, which is exactly what our boys have been doing.”

Scarlets team v RC Toulon (Saturday, September 19, 2020; kick-off 8.15pm UK)

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.

Unavailable because of injury

Rob Evans (neck), Rhys Patchell (calf), Liam Williams (foot), Daf Hughes (knee), Steff Thomas (knee), Alex Jeffries (elbow), Tomi Lewis (knee), Aaron Shingler.

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Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host one of the first outdoor sports events in Wales since the Covid-19 lockdown.

Welsh Government has given the go ahead for three trial sport and culture events as part of its continued easing of restrictions.

Pembrey Country Park will host a duathlon on Sunday, September 6, with a limited number of competitors, although there will be no spectators.

The event will be monitored and will help inform Welsh Government policy on future sporting events as the country continues its recovery from Covid-19.

The council is working with Welsh Triathlon to ensure athletes can compete safely, with strict risk assessments and protocols being put into place.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future. Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”

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Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC

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Ammanford AFC are pleased to announce that the Ex Swans legends Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson are back for a second season with the club

The pair helped Ammanford AFC to achieve a respectable seventh place finish in the JD Cymru South league last season.

The Supporters of Ammanford will welcome the news and will be hoping that they can go and watch their team once clearance has been given.

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