Raiders RL 35 20 Nottingham Outlaws
SECOND placed Nottingham Outlaws made their longest journey of the season on Saturday with a four-hour coach trip down to west Wales to face an in-form Raiders RL side at Llanelli. In a hard fought game the Outlaws matched their Welsh counterparts for most of the game but a crucial ten minute spell just before half time that saw the Outlaws concede three converted trys proved to be the difference as they succumbed to 35-20 defeat.
The Outlaws went into the match with a squad containing no fewer than nine changes to the side that racked up a record score against Oxford the previous week. The major re-shuffle saw first team debuts for Matt Nixon and Dan Wilson who took up two of the interchange spots whilst Adam Cunliffe moved up to scrum half to partner the returning Alex Whittle.
Despite the changes it didn’t take long for the Outlaw’s to put themselves on the scoreboard with Jon Christie scoring in the corner, the try went unconverted.
It took a further 15 minutes before Raiders captain and stalwart Alan Pope forced himself over the line and Shane Edwards notched the conversion.
Nottingham again found gaps in the Raiders defence and with a well worked move saw Alex Whittle score to the right hand of the posts, Adam Cunliffe converting. The Raiders found themselves with an overlap immediately after kick off as pivot Shane Lee and second row Morgan Jeffereries created a gap for debutant winger Curtis Ford to outstrip his winger, flat foot the full back and score in the corner, Nathan Beck converted from far out.
It seemed again almost immediately from the kick off the Raiders hit the Nottingham right hand flank and centre Dan Fox got over the line for a much needed try, Nathan Beck converted again.
Nottingham stepped up a gear and proved hard to break through with them being very technical in the tackle area slowing the Raiders quick ball option right down, however on 35 minutes winger Curtis Ford side stepped the Nottingham centre, sent the full back the wrong way and scored another try under the posts.
Nottingham did push hard and nearly scored under the posts but the Raiders defence held out and the ref blew for a much-needed half time break.
In the second half the Raiders came out with renewed vigour, a clever move culminated in the Raiders full back Nath Beck finding a gap and Curtis
Ford following up and scoring his hat trick in the corner.
With the score at 28-10 it seemed that the Raiders were in the ascendency however a try on 50 minutes by Nottingham’s Jimmy Goodwin put Raiders on the back foot, the try was unconverted. Nottingham built pressure and again broke through a lacklustre Raiders defence with Adam Cunliffe converting his own try.
It needed something special for the Raiders to pull clear of the Outlaws and that came in the form of debutant winger Curtis Ford scoring his 4th try of the day in spectacular fashion and converting his own try.
The game was put to bed when pivot Shane Lee dropped a goal on the 77th minute mark allowing the Raiders to hold out against a determined Nottingham outfit until the final whistle.
Despite victory Raiders coach Jon Ellis was not pleased with some aspects and commented: “We made really hard work of this game, Rugby League is a game of 80 minutes of none stop graft, we played some dumb rugby and gave Nottingham too much respect, although we got the win and the game was great for the spectators we need to be more technical and ruthless in all areas of the game.
“We did however find some gems of players today and we are looking forward to playing Leicester away next week.”
Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final
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.
Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events
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.”
Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC
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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