New Dock Stars 6-18 Tumble
TUMBLE made their second journey to St George’s Field, Llanelli, in three weeks to face New Dock Stars on Saturday (Oct 5).
The game started with New Dock keen to avenge the 7-55 loss suffered against Tumble in the National Bowl at the end of September and they had the Magpies under pressure from the kick off.
With the rain coming down hard and the ball wet and slippery Tumble found it difficult to create anything in the opening exchanges.
New Dock took the lead after four minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Tumble were found to be offside at a ruck. Outside half James Baxter slotted over the kick to make the score 3-0 to the hosts.
Tumble’s first real attacking foray into the New Dock half came after 12 minutes when a lovely break saw wing Aled Price race down the right-hand touchline and then feed full back Nicky Allison, who despite a stumble before the line reached out to ground the ball for a well worked try. Outside half Steven Hewitt missed the conversion from wide on the right to make the score 3-5 to the Magpies.
Four minutes later New Dock were back in the lead when another Baxter penalty made it 6-5 to the hosts.
The game now ebbed and flowed as both sides attempted to put phases of play together in the wet conditions.
On 29 minutes New Dock were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck and up stepped Hewitt to slot over a 30-metre penalty and make the score 6-8 to Tumble.
On 36 minutes the Magpies found themselves down to 14 men when prop Ceiron Evans was yellow carded after being adjudged to have led into a tackle with the shoulder.
Playing on permit the son of former Magpie prop Phil Evans was replaced at the next scrum by his cousin Liam Willard, who was pressed into action again as a makeshift prop. In first half injury time New Dock were awarded another penalty which Baxter attempted from 45 metres only to see his effort drop agonisingly short of the crossbar. Tumble avoided further scares and held out until half time to go into the break 6-8 ahead.
The second half started with the Magpies putting concerted pressure on the New Dock defence.
With the Tumble scrum in dominant mood a scrum v saw the Magpies push their opponents back and number 8 Owain Davies ground the ball to claim the pushover try after nine minutes. Hewitt added the simple conversation to make the score 6-15 to the visitors and open up a bit of daylight between the two teams.
Tumble further extend their lead when Hewitt hit a penalty from 22 metres after New Dock were deemed offside in midfield, 6-18 to Tumble.
Despite significant pressure in the last 20 minutes no further scoring took place.
The Magpies were unlucky when a break in midfield saw the ball grubbered ahead and a footrace take place. Replacement wing Sam Jones slid in and appeared to score a deserved try. Unfortunately, the referee had another ideas and chalked the score off after deeming that the ball had been knocked on in the act of scoring.
Tumble maintained the pressure and nearly scored another try, deep in injury time through wing Mike Edwards. Unfortunately, Edwards was deemed to have lost control of the ball when attempting to ground it at full stretch.
That was the end of the action as the referee called a halt to the game to confirm Tumble’s win.
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
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