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Cunningham joins Pivac’s backroom team

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Top four: Cunningham aims high for region

Top four: Cunningham aims high for region

FORMER Llanelli RFC captain and SWALEC Cup winner Ioan Cunningham will join Wayne Pivac’s coaching team for the 2015-16 season as Set Piece Coach.
Born in Glanamman, and a former pupil of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, Cunningham first joined the Scarlets in 2000 as part of the region’s inaugural Academy year group, combining his training with a HND in Sports Science from Coleg Sir Gar.
The Welsh speaking backrow forward made 105 appearances for Llanelli RFC and captained the side that lifted the SWALEC Cup in 2005 against Pontypridd. He also made 4 appearances for the Scarlets and scored one try in a friendly match in Slovenia. Cunningham represented Wales U16 and Wales U18, captaining the side in 2001.
Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac said: “Ioan has been working with the Academy here at the region for a number of years; he’s well respected amongst players and coaches and has a good rapport with players. Taking responsibility over the British & Irish Cup and LV= Cup groups in the last few years has given him confidence as a young coach. We saw some solid performances during both those competitions with a particularly strong performance at the Parc in January securing victory over an experienced London Irish side. He’ll undoubtedly be a good addition to the coaching group for the forthcoming season.”
Cunningham’s development into a senior role further shows the region’s work in developing young coaches as well as the region’s next generation of players.
His coaching career at Parc y Scarlets started in January 2011 as Performance Skills Coach and says he is looking forward to the new challenge and his continued development as a coach, he said: “This is a great opportunity for me to take another step on the professional coaching ladder. This has always been something I’ve wanted to achieve and have been working towards over the years. Personally, I’m looking forward to being a part of the coaching team that will develop long term forwards for the region and to develop a pack that can give us the top four spot.”
Whilst with Wales Under 20s Cunningham played a part in the development of some of Scarlets and Wales’ young talents in the front row in Kirby Myhill, Samson Lee, Rhodri Jones and R ob Evans.
In a short period of time Cunningham has amassed a wealth of coaching experience with Wales U16s, U18s, U20s, Scarlets Academy as well as heading up the British & Irish Cup and LV= Cup coaching team over the last two seasons.
He went on to say: “The LV= Cup has given me a good grounding and it gave me an insight on how to run things and manage a large playing group. I’ve been at the region for some time now and have enjoyed seeing the progression of our young local talent from the age grades and the Academy through to the senior side and on to international honours in some cases. In terms of what the future holds, we want to be a top four side and to make the play-offs. I believe that we can achieve that and reach our full potential.”

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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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