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Croft excited by coaching opportunities

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Robert Croft: Linking up with England in South Africa

FORMER Pontarddulais player and current Glamorgan coach Robert Croft admits the prospect of one day guiding his beloved county excites him but admits he is still to decide whether to apply for the vacant head coach role.

Croft will head out to South Africa to link up with the England one-day squad at the end of January after being invited by ECB Team Director Andrew Strauss to join the national team and share his spin bowling expertise. Croft admits he would like to step up to the main role one day, but is unsure if now is the right time. “I have not made any decisions yet because I am aware there is a process in place,” said Croft. “I will discuss it long and hard with my family because they are the most important thing and then I will come up with a decision. “I’m under no illusions that it is a wonderful place to work and it’s a terrific job. I expect there will be a lot of people interested.

“I’m aware of all that and will make my decision in the next week or so and it’s certainly a job that appeals to me at this stage in my career. “I’m sure there will be lots of people interested in coaching at what a wonderful club we have here and in time the decision-makers will make that choice and we’ll wait and see what comes of it. Croft who only retired from playing in September 2012 applied for the head coach role two years ago, but admits he has developed as a coach since then. “I think I have picked up on managing people more,” added Croft. “When I first went into coaching I saw things through a technical and tactical lens, but potentially not through the people management lens. “What I have learned is how much the players already know and coaches don’t always have the answers.

“Crucially also you can’t ignore what I have learned from the senior players here at Glamorgan where we have a very good bunch who are teaching coaches like me every day. “It’s about trying to create the environment where the players can express themselves and bring out the undoubted talent they have. “I have benefited from the last two years and have worked under a couple of head coaches now and had time with Andy Flower last year. “So the bank of knowledge is building up, but it’s a far more difficult job to be coaching than playing. “As a player you are pretty much interested in what you have to do. As a coach you have to be aware of where and how everyone is. “You have to make decisions sometimes that are more difficult than others.”

Away from the Glamorgan position, Croft is relishing his stint in South Africa where he will return to the international stage for the first time since his last England playing appearance in 2001 after being asked to link up with the one-day squad on a secondment. “It’s a 12-day trip to South Africa and I’m so excited about it,” explained Croft, who played 21 Tests and 50 one-day internationals for England between 1996 and 2001. “I had a phone call from Andrew Strauss asking if I’d consider going out and being in the environment for the spinners, primarily to help discuss experiences on the field with them, nothing technical, purely tactical. “Hopefully it will be an experience I will gain from. To go and work with Paul Farbrace and head coach Trevor Bayliss, who have had such success at the highest level, when you think back to the Ashes and also in preparation for the T20 World Cup, it will be nice to bring it back here to Glamorgan. “It will hopefully give me extra lenses to look through at the game of cricket. I’m also looking forward to getting the juices flowing of international sport again to see what that will be like. “I had great years in the England team which luckily coincided with great years in the Glamorgan team. “To get the training top out and get a boost from seeing players do well is what any coach wants. “I’m relishing rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in and seeing what I can bring to the table.”

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Community

Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages

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Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.


Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.


More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said:  “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.


“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.


“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”

Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative

Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.

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Sport

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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Sport

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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