Llanelli Town 1-0 Cwmbran Celtic
FULL credit to the Reds for bouncing back so positively following their horrendous 6-2 defeat at STM Sports, and the narrow margin of the win does not really do justice to their overall performance in a match they dominated for long periods.
They gave early notice of their intentions when Liam Samuel spotted goalkeeper Scott James off his line, and from fully 40 yards directed his attempt on target, leading to James frantically scrambling back and just do enough to turn the ball around for a corner.
When the visitors broke, Louis Feeley displayed some neat footwork to make his way into the box before sending his finish across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Both Ryan Hurlow and Joe Clarke drove their efforts just wide of the Celtic goal, and the hosts continued to enjoy the lions` share of possession, but the final ball lacked the quality needed to unlock their opponents defence.
Hurlow did well to work his way into a shooting position, but his strike was diverted for a corner, and he was involved again when another sweeping move culminated in him forcing James to smother the ball at his feet when he made ground into the area.
The visitors had offered little in the way of a threat on the home goal, their best chance arising when Dion Molyneux met a Feeley corner but directed his header over the bar.
Just before the interval, a Peter Smith delivery driven low into the Celtic goalmouth saw Tim Parker just fail to make a connection, and the half ended goalless.
Parker had an early second half attempt blocked close to goal, before the best chance of the contest to date fell to the visitors when a clever dummy by Zacharia Osborne allowed Feeley a clear route to goal, but he fired wide with only Scott Coughlan to beat.
Having survived this scare, the Reds continued to stroke the ball around to good effect, but the killer pass was still eluding them, resulting in a dearth of clear-cut chances on the visitors` goal.
Coughlan safely gathered an Osborne shot on target, before the long awaited breakthrough arrived on 69 minutes through Smith, who was the recipient of yet another incisive build-up and tried his luck from the edge of the box, and the ball took a deflection off Celtic captain, Rakesh Patel, before looping over James and into the net.
The lead, even if it contained an element of fortune, was fully deserved as the Reds had been the more dominant of the two sides, and they came close to extending the lead with Parker again just fractionally away from turning in a James Loveridge cross.
James was called into action to grab the ball at the feet of Samuel when he surged into the box, and Loveridge, with a delicate lob, was agonisingly denied a goal when it struck the inside of the post before being gratefully gathered by the keeper.
Kyle Copp was the next home player to be offered the chance to put the issue beyond doubt when he found himself in possession before making ground towards the target, but fired his finish well wide from a promising position.
Samuel also failed to take advantage when he got into the area but elected to try and beat the last defender and was closed down, with Loveridge waiting for a pass in acres of space.
This action was the last of the match, and the Reds emerged with a narrow but deserved win, and will be hoping to continue in this vein when they travel to meet Taffs Well on Friday evening (Oct 4), kick off 7.30pm.
Six Nations: North set for 100th cap against England
GEORGE North is set to become the youngest player in the world to reach the 100-cap milestone for his country on Saturday, February 27, when Wales take on England at Principality Stadium (KO 16.45 BBC & S4C).
North, 28, made his international bow in November 2010 and has amassed 42 tries in his 99 appearances.
North will line-up in the centre alongside Jonathan Davies on Saturday, outside of half-back pairing of Kieran Hardy and Dan Biggar. Josh Adams, Louis Rees-Zammit and Liam Williams comprise the back-three.
Wales name an unchanged front-five with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis packing down in the front-row and Adam Beard partnering captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row.
Josh Navidi returns to the side to line-up alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau.
“We’ve had a great two weeks leading into this game and we are looking forward to Saturday,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“We continue to build and we know there is plenty left in us in terms of improvements from the opening two rounds. We are 2/2 but we want to continue to improve performance wise.
“Saturday is a great milestone for George, it is a huge achievement at his age and we are looking forward to seeing him in action.”
Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover for Wales with Cory Hill and James Botham completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy and Uilisi Halaholo provide the back-line cover.
WALES TEAM TO PLAY ENGLAND (SATURDAY FEBRUARY 24, KO 16.45)
1. Wyn Jones (32 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (79 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (54 Caps)
4. Adam Beard (23 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (145 Caps)
6. Josh Navidi (25 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (82 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (83 Caps)
9. Kieran Hardy (3 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (89 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (29 Caps)
12. Jonathan Davies (85 Caps)
13. George North (99 Caps)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (6 Caps)
15. Liam Williams (68 Caps)
16. Elliot Dee (34 Caps)
17. Rhodri Jones (19 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (14 Caps)
19. Cory Hill (29 Caps)
20. James Botham (4 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (59 Caps)
22. Callum Sheedy (6 Caps)
23. Uilisi Halaholo (1 Cap)
Wales looking for third win in a row against England
WALES have won their first two games in the Six Nations Championship and on Saturday, February 27, they put that record on the line against great rivals England.
Having already beaten Ireland and Scotland, the Triple Crown will be on the line for Wales, a feat they last achieved in 2019 when they won the Grand Slam.
That will be incentive enough for Wayne Pivac’s men but to do it against England will make it that little bit sweeter.
With France’s game against Scotland on Sunday in doubt, it will also give the home side a great chance to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Wales do not have any fresh injury concerns going into the England game and it will likely provide a selection headache for Pivac.
George North could be set to make his 100th appearance for Wales if he plays against England, and is currently second in the list of all-time try scorers for his home country.
England lost their opening game of the tournament against Scotland but got back to winning ways with a resounding 41-18 win over Italy.
The 2020 Six Nations and Autumn Cup Champions will be eager to rediscover their winning form which brought them that success but they will not find it easy against Wales.
What happened the last time England visited the Principality Stadium?
Wales last welcomed England to the Principality on February 23, 2019, and it was a game which saw Wales earn a 21-13 victory.
Cory Hill and Josh Adams scored Wales’ tries in that match while Dan Biggar and Gareth Anscombe added the rest of the points from the boot.
Tom Curry scored England’s only try in that match while Farrell had a 100% success rate with his kicks.
What happened when the sides met in 2020?
It was an absolute classic last year with England triumphing by 33 points to 30 at Twickenham.
Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi got the tries for England on that day while Owen Farrell had again had a 100% record with the boot.
Justin Tipuric bagged two tries for Wales while Dan Biggar scored their other as the men in red came up short on this occasion.
Of course, the last two meetings between the two sides were played in front of capacity crowds but that will not be a factor this time around, owing to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Could that be a factor in the game or will both sides treat us to an excellent display of rugby?
After the England game, Wales travel to Italy on Saturday, March 13, while England will host France on the same day.
A win for either side this weekend will be crucial; a win for Wales and it sets them up for the Grand Slam while a win for England will reignite their hopes of retaining the Six Nations Championship.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 16:45 and can be seen on S4C as well as the BBC.
Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, George Martin, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Max Malins.
Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Jonathan Davies, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Botham, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Uilisi Halaholo.
New format agreed for Champions Cup and Challenge Cup
THE four Welsh rugby regions have learned their fate after the finals rounds of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup were suspended.
Group stage matches were postponed in January after the French Rugby Union raised concerns about travelling across Europe amidst a rise in coronavirus cases.
The remaining fixtures have not been rearranged and European Rugby has announced a new format.
Both tournaments will resume with Rounds of 16 matches on the weekend of 2/3/4 April and the knockout stages will continue with quarter-finals, semi-finals and the scheduled Marseille finals on EPCR’s allocated weekends in April and May.
As approved by the EPCR Board, the Rounds of 16 and quarter-final matches in both tournaments will now be decided by draws which will take place on Tuesday, March 9.
For the Challenge Cup, the eight highest-ranked clubs from the preliminary stage at the time of the suspension of the tournament and the eight clubs which have not qualified for the knockout stage of Heineken Champions Cup will compete in the Round of 16.
Scarlet will take their place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup alongside the likes of Racing 92, Munster, Lyon and La Rochelle.
Dragons, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues will all compete in the Challenge Cup and could come up against the likes of Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints.
For the purposes of the draw, clubs from the same league cannot be drawn against one another, however, Challenge Cup clubs and Heineken Champions Cup clubs can be drawn against one another.
It has also been agreed that open draws will take place to determine the quarter-finals in both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, allowing for the possibility of matches between clubs in the same league. The draws for the quarter-finals will take place immediately after the rounds of 16 draws on Tuesday, March 9.
Heineken Champions Cup knockout stage qualifiers: Racing 92, Leinster, Wasps, Bordeaux-Begles, Munster, Lyon, Toulouse, La Rochelle, Scarlets, Clermont Auvergne, Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Edinburgh, Gloucester, RC Toulon, Sale Sharks.
Challenge Cup last 16: London Irish, Ospreys, Leicester Tigers, Cardiff Blues, Zebre Rugby Club, Agen, Benetton Rugby, Newcastle Falcons, Ulster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Northampton Saints, Bath Rugby, Montpellier, Dragons, Harlequins, Glasgow Warriors
News1 week ago
New plans for Swansea’s Palace Theatre
News1 week ago
Deaths could be linked to salmonella in SFC chicken’s boneless buckets
Sport1 week ago
Championship round up: Cardiff hit four, Swansea hit for four
News1 week ago
Carmarthenshire hit with a months worth of rain in 24 hours
News6 days ago
Wife completes 50-mile running challenge to raise money for charity after husband suffers stroke
News1 week ago
Boat items stolen in Burry Port
News1 week ago
Police officer dismissed after admitting gross misconduct
News1 week ago
£500 grant for Skewen residents affected by flooding