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Trim too good for Furnace

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Furnace 8-21 Trimsaran

TRIMSARAN travelled the short distance to Furnace on Saturday (Sept 14) for what was an entertaining derbt clash.

This was the first meeting between the two teams for a few years as Furnace were promoted along with Penygroes last season after finishing second in League 3 West Central C last season.

The cherries won their first game last week against Bynea by 55-8 so were on a high coming into the game after also having a successful pre-season which saw them win all 3 of their games.

Trim also made a winning start to the season last week after a narrow victory over Cefneithin by 18-15.

Trimsaran were under no illusions how difficult this game would be and knew they would have to give 110% if they wanted to stop the cherries.

Trim kicked off and after a handling error Furnace had the early initiative with a scrum near halfway.

Trim showed their intention from this scrum driving Furnace back 10-15 meters and getting awarded the early penalty.

This was the start of a period of 20 minutes where Trim were pressuring the Furnace defence and in the home teams territory constantly.

Furnace did show some strong defence and had secured a couple of turnover but it wasn’t long until Trim took a well-deserved lead after second row Emyr Evans crossed the whitewash to open the scoring after some good build up work by Trim.

Furnace ill-discipline allowed Trim to get the territory and within the next 10 minutes Trim had extended their lead to 11-0 after two penalties by fly half Corey Phillips.

Photo by Darren Harries

Furnace came into the game now after a loose return kick from the kick off and had a run of possession and territory, this allowed them to break down the wing and score their first try of the game in the corner against the run of play. The score was now 5-11 to the visitors with 10 minutes of the first half left.

Trim were back pressuring the home team deep in their 22 and set up a driving maul from a lineout but some good defence from Furnace turned the ball over and allowed them to clear their lines.

However, some more ill-discipline for being offside allowed Trim to again get territory and after a few good phases of play from the forwards the ball was passed out to winger Callum McCormack who touched down for his teams second try in the corner.

The difficult conversion was nailed over by Corey Phillips and with only 5 minutes of the first half remaining the score was 5-18.

From the kick off Trim cleared their lines only to be told it was kicked out on the full so Furnace now had an ideal attacking lineout just before half time to hit back. The cherries were awarded a scrum 5 yards out after the ball became unplayable and had one more chance as the ref called last play to get some sort of points.

Furnace tried to power their way through but Trim held them out before they spread the ball wide and were tackled into touch to bring the first half to an end. Trim were happy with the outcome at half time but knew Furnace would come back at them in the second half all guns blazing.

Furnace kicked off the second half and were the team to pressure first. They were awarded a penalty of their own which they kicked at goal to reduce the deficit after 5 minutes of the second half.

Trim pushed for another score to extend their league but a pass was intercepted by the Furnace hooker and he booted the ball back down deep into the Trim 22.

A shove from the Cherries number 9 off the ball resulted in a yellow card for him as the ref had finally had enough of the penalties conceded after numerous warnings. This allowed Trim to clear their lines and retain possession from the lineout.

The game started to turn a bit scrappy now with both teams failing to retain possession for enough phases to trouble the defensive lines. Furnace did have a break down the wing but the green and blacks defence was strong enough to keep them out only for Furnace to be awarded a penalty and a shot at goal which was unsuccessful. 5 minutes later it was Trim who were extending their lead thanks to a drop goal from hooker and captain Ryan Edwards to make the score 8-21 with 20 minutes left.

Trim had a further chance through a penalty to take the game beyond the home team but the shot at goal was just missed. Furnace had more possession and territory in the final 10 minutes of the game but the green and blacks held firm in defence and managed to hold out everything the cherries threw at them. When the ref called last play of the game full back Dan Griffiths booted the ball off the field to secure an impressive win for Trimsaran and to make it two wins out of two.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Trimsaran host Amman United and Furnace travel to Cardigan in the first round of the Specsavers National Bowl.

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April  4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.  

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance. 

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate. 

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The Six Nations: Come on Wales!

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WITH new coaches in charge of Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy, there’s an air of change about this year’s Six Nations competition.

Only Eddie Jones and – for now – Gregor Townsend remain at the helm of their countries’ sides from last year.
Wayne Pivac, the former Scarlets coach, takes charge of Wales following Warren Gatland’s retirement. He has very big shoes to fill and his task is not made any easier by the failure of the WRU to retain the services of key backroom staff member Shaun Edwards.

There are five uncapped players in Wales’ 34-member squad for the tournament: Louis Rees-Zammit, Johnny McNicholl, Nick Tompkins, WillGriff John and Will Rowlands.

Rhys Webb also gained a recall having signed a contract with Ospreys following two years with Toulon which ruled him out of the Test arena.

It’s also a welcome return for prop Rob Evans, from Spittal, who was left out of Wales World Cup squad to widespread astonishment. Evans is a strong scrummager and powerful in the loose. He has been in destructive form on the loose-head side for Scarlets this season alongside his Welsh teammate Ken Owens.

Absent are the long-term injured Gareth Anscombe, Jonathan Davies, and Tomos Francis.

The absence of Jonathan Davies is likely to be keenly felt in midfield. While Owen Watkins is making a faster than expected recovery from his injury, Wales will need to reshuffle their settled three-quarter line which shone in the Rugby World Cup.

Among the options Wales are considering to replace their midfield general is moving George North inside from the wing to provide a physical presence and a different threat than the injured Lions centre.

Louis Rees-Zammit, the Gloucester winger, is one to watch out for; if he gets on the pitch, he’ll be the large red blur charging at the Italian defence. The eighteen-year-old flyer has been compared to George North in terms of size, speed, and predatory scoring ability. Despite representing Wales at U18 level, the Cardiff-born winger attended Gloucester’s rugby academy to fit in with his education at Hartpury College. Rumours that Eddie Jones tried to tempt him over to the dark side were quickly squashed when Rees-Zammitt was selected in the Wales senior squad.

At full-back, with Liam Williams ruled out of this weekend’s Italy game, Leigh Halfpenny is almost nailed on to start. The Scarlets number 15 has been in stellar form this season, offering threat in attack, solidity in defence, and reliability with his metronomic boot. His recovery from a serious concussion injury, which left him out of the game for a long period and ruled him out of last year’s Six Nations, has resulted in renewed determination from the Scarlets man.
“It only feels like yesterday I was one of the younger boys,” Halfpenny says.

“I’m one of the older ones now and it’s great for us as a squad to have fantastically talented youngsters coming through. It’s strengthening us as a team and there is a lot of competition.

“It does make me realise I’m probably in the latter stages of my career. When I look back on it, it has all gone so quick. It’s gone in the blink of an eye. It’s incredible. It’s always a privilege to hear your name read out for the Welsh squad and even though I am in the latter stages of my career, I’m still ambitious. I’m still hungry to achieve things, but I also want to enjoy every moment I have as much as possible at the moment.”

Leigh Halfpenny continued: “Last season the boys were absolutely outstanding. To achieve a Grand Slam was incredible and it’s now hugely exciting looking ahead to this Six Nations,” Halfpenny said.

“Our goal is to go and win the title again. That’s the challenge for us as a squad. We’ve got new coaches and management and that’s really exciting as well.

“It is a new era for the squad. What was achieved with the previous management was just incredible and the feeling in the group has been brilliant these last two weeks. The boys have come in full of energy and we can’t wait to get started with this Six Nations. Italy will be an extremely tough challenge. Both teams will want to get off to a positive start to the campaign. Having played Italy you know they do pose threats and they’re a tough team to crack. We’re going to have to be at our best to do that both in attack and defence. We want to get our Six Nations campaign off to the start we want which is with a win.”

Former Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac is the man tasked with filling the boots of fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland, who steered Wales to three grand slams and two World Cup semi-final appearances during his 12-year reign.

“The guys have been made aware of the style of game we want and the positional and role specifics they will have to play,” says Pivac.

“The expectation is we are going to move a bit more ball and what I’m seeing at the moment is a great reaction. We’ve got a good vibe in the group and if the training sessions are anything to go by, we’ve got guys putting their hands up to take to the field.”

Pivac continued: “The boys had a fantastic competition to win the Grand Slam last year. History says this year is going to be tough with England and Ireland away, but that’s the challenge.

“That’s what motivates the best players and coaches. We think we have a draw that lends itself to us building into the competition. With no disrespect to any opponent, I think it’s nice we’ve got a home game to kick it off and you can certainly sense there is a bit of excitement.

“We are going to evolve our attack and that will take a bit of time. It took a bit of time with the Scarlets and I’m sure it will be no different at an international level, except we have got a higher calibre of player to work with across the board.”

Wales haven’t lost to Italy since 2007 and the Azzurri have never won in Cardiff since joining the Six Nations. The 2020 tournament will be their 21st season in the Championship.

Italy are now coached by Franco Smith and captained by hooker Luca Bigi with Sergio Parisse – who has skippered the team for so long – absent for the Cardiff clash.

“I think there will be a lot of continuity. I think Wayne is very smart in the way he goes about things,” said Smith.
“He spent five years in Wales – there’s a reason why they’ve appointed him after Warren. It’s going to be again a big physical challenge, but I do think they will bring a bit of an attacking edge. The style Wayne played at the Scarlets will be noticeable in the new approach.

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