PRINCIPALITY STADIUM has been officially unveiled by Wales head coach Warren Gatland to signal the start of an historic 10- year investment in Welsh rugby by Principality Building Society.
The partnership between the WRU and Wales’ largest building society sees Wales’ iconic home ground renamed Principality Stadium with the overarching aim to develop and grow rugby in Wales at all levels.
The two-time British and Irish Lions coach was the first to switch on the lights of the new external signage at the venue, lighting the sky with the words ‘Stadiwm Principality Stadium’ followed by a spectacular firework display.
“The national stadium is a very special place for everyone involved in Welsh rugby and it is a great pleasure for me to be here for the official opening of Principality Stadium,” said the head coach whose tenure includes two Grand Slams and three RBS 6 Nations titles.
“I’ve said it before, but the stadium is simply the best rugby stadium in the World and as a squad we can’t wait to play at Principality Stadium in the Six Nations over the coming weeks.
“The partnership with Principality Building Society will benefit the whole game from grassroots right through to the elite and it is great to have their support to help grow the game over the next 10-years.”
WRU Chairman Gareth Davies and Principality Building Society Group Chief Executive Graeme Yorston provided the official welcome for the ‘switch on’ event.
“Today marks a new era for Welsh rugby in the opening of Principality Stadium and the start of a positive 10-year partnership with the team at Principality Building Society, who have provided great support of the community game in Wales,” said the WRU Chairman.
“This new partnership is a boost for all levels of Welsh rugby, with reinvestment in rugby communities and individuals who dedicate so much of their time, energy and passion to the sport.
“The partnership is also a key factor in our vision to encourage more people to engage with rugby, more often, providing more enjoyment and success on the field.
“I am delighted to celebrate a strengthening of our relationship with one of Welsh rugby’s key partners and I want to thank Principality on this landmark day for their continued support.”
Former Wales international and current U20s Manager Mark Taylor, who was the Stadium’s debut try scorer in Wales’ historic win over South Africa on 26 June 1999, and triple Grand Slam winning Welsh international Ryan Jones were also among the guests at the event.
The two-day celebration also includes a festival of grassroots rugby, which will see under 7s teams from across Wales becoming the first people to step out on the hallowed pitch tomorrow (Saturday January 23).
Principality has invited players representing Bridgend Sports, Dulais Valley, RTB Ebbw Vale, Treherbert and Wrexham who have been selected for their commitment to the development of rugby both on and off the field.
The young players will be accompanied by their parents and will take part in a skills session delivered by WRU Coach Core Apprentices and national squad representatives followed by autographs and an exclusive Q&A.
Graeme Yorston, Group Chief Executive of Principality Building Society, said: “This partnership provides substantial support to nurture future rugby talent and grow the grassroots game at all levels in Wales, whilst providing substantial benefits for our loyal members, our savers and borrowers. It will also bring substantial economic benefits to our country – with a range of exciting events and concerts being held at the Stadium over the next 10 years.
“We are proud to put our name to the home of Welsh rugby – a home that truly belongs to the nation and is at the heart of Welsh life.
“Principality has been part of the fabric of Welsh life for more than 155 years, helping people to prosper in their homes, and it is important to us to stay true to these roots and continue to invest in our heartland to support the communities in which we and our customers live and work.
“We hope that Principality Stadium will be a place where unforgettable memories are created, where the passion and pride of Wales will be witnessed in all its glory.”
As well as being the home of Welsh rugby, the multi-purpose venue plays a central role in Welsh life. Supporting local community events and attracting major music concerts and high profile business events to the area, the Stadium actively generates more than £130m for the local economy each year.
The WRU shares a long and proud history with Wales’ largest building society, dating back to 1969 when the first partnership between the two parties offered Principality Members some of the first WRU debenture seats.
From 2001 the building society sponsored the WRU’s main knockout cup competition later progressing to become the ten-year title sponsor of the Premiership division in Wales in 2005.
Wales’ first international match at Principality Stadium is the sell-out clash with Scotland on Saturday 13 February. Earlier this week, Gatland named his 37-man squad for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.
Skilton’s half century beats Felinfoel
A HALF century from Llandarcy’s Paul Skilton helped his side to victory over Felinfoel Seconds on Saturday (May 18).
Llandarcy invited Felinfoel to bat first after winning the toss and that proved to be a good decision as they soon had them in trouble on 41-5.
Opener Nicholas Jones made 18 for Felinfoel but he was bowled by Steven Moul.
Meirion Rees and Josh Powell both fell cheaply to the bowling of Chris Harland as did Ben Williams and Shaun Caton.
Jamie Cranham and Adam Edwards then offered some resistance to the Llandarcy bowlers with a stand of 48 for the sixth wicket.
Cranham hit six fours as he scored 32 but he was then caught off the bowling of Robert Jones.
Edwards and Ian Meredith then shared 52 runs for the seventh wicket as they looked to give their side something to defend.
Meredith made 21 with five fours but was then also out to the bowling of Jones. He then also took the wicket of Steve Johns for a duck.
That left Edwards not out on 35 (six fours) as he took Felinfoel to their total of 153-8.
Steve Johns then struck twice as Llandarcy began their reply as he had Ian Davies caught by Jamie Cranham and Steven Moul caught by Josh Powell.
That left them on 12-2 but opener Chris Pickford was joined by Paul Skilton and the pair shared 65 runs for the third wicket.
Pickford hit seven fours in his knock of 35 but he was then bowled by Nicholas Jones. Josh Powell then bowled Ben Owen for a duck to reduce Llandarcy to 78-4.
Another good stand between Skilton and Paul Maunder followed as they all but secured victory. Maunder made 25 before he was caught by Cranham off the bowling of Jones.
Skilton and Anthony Fletcher went on to see Llandarcy to their target with plenty of time to spare.
Fletcher was not out on 11 while Skilton had hit ten fours and a six to finish not out on 63.
Dafen edged out by Dyffryn
DAFEN Seconds’ were denied victory on Saturday (May 18) as Dyffryn edged to a 1-wicket win after their target was revised under the Duckworth Lewis method.
Dafen had made an excellent total of 263-6 in their innings but after a break for rain, Dyffryn were given a revised target of 185 from 35 overs.
Jac Morgan scored 19 early on for Dafen but was then out to the bowling of Chris Davies. Scott Phillips made 25 with three fours and a six before he was also out to Davies.
Chris Randell also batted well for his score of 31 but he was then bowled by Kyle Green.
Green also bowled George Lavender leaving Dafen on 185-5 but opener Oliver Evans and Andrew Randell smashed their side past 250 runs.
Evans hit eight fours and two sixes as he scored 80 before he was run out.
Randell smashed six fours and three sixes as he finished not out on 51 to help set Dyffryn a challenging target.
However, rain meant that Dyffryn would need a revised target of 185 to win.
Andrew Herbert took two wickets early on for Dafen to leave them on 21-2 but scores of 31 from Alun Evans, 20 from Jon Lewis and 43 from Rhodri Morgan kept Dyffryn on target.
All three fell to the bowling of Rhys Marchant and after James McKenna was bowled by Scott Phillips, Dyffryn were 128-6.
Darren Wood made 17 before he was out to the bowling of Cieran Latham and he also had Kyle Green caught by Chris Randell.
Lewis Day had made 21 for the visitors but when he was out to the bowling of Gleb Roberts it looked as if Dafen would take the win.
However, Grant Pearce and Chris Davies had other ideas as they steered Dyffryn over the line with four balls to spare.
Llanelli too good for Llandysul
LLANELLI put in a good all-round team performance as they batted well to make a good score before bowling Llandysul out to earn a 52-run win.
Llandysul won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side racked up nearly 300 runs.
Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips got Llanelli off to an excellent start as they shared 91 runs for the first wicket.
Rees hit five fours in a score of 41 but he was then stumped by Andrew Barrett off the bowling of Joseph Swift.
Phillips and Ryan Nicholas then shared a stand of 60 for the second wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.
Nicholas made 26 but was then caught by Luke Swift off the bowling of Steffan Jones.
More good batting followed as Phillips and Rhidian Morgan shared 59 runs for the third wicket.
Morgan smashed five fours and two sixes as his score of 40 came from 28 balls but he then found the hands of Llewelyn Hughes, giving Ashleigh Cox his first wicket.
Phillips had hit 11 fours in his knock of 96 but was unlucky to miss out on a century as he was caught by Ben Edkins off the bowling of Cox.
Marcus Leaf fell cheaply to the bowling of Luke Swift and he later had Steven Devonald caught by Cox.
Devonald had hit five fours in a score of 38 from 25 balls as Llanelli went on to set Llandysul 280 to win.
Llandysul were keen to make a good start in their reply and although they lost Bleddyn Morgan early on when he was caught by Ryan Nicholas off the bowling of Chris Thomas, a stand of 50 for the second wicket between Meurig Jones and Ashleigh Cox gave them a good platform. Jones made 26 before he was bowled by David Richards.
Cox had reached his half century but then saw Ben Edkins bowled by Steven Devonald on a score of 17.
Richards then had Llewelyn Hughes caught by Chris Thomas for a duck as Llandysul slipped to 115-4.
Cox was closing in on his century but was also losing partners as Carwyn Evans made 15 before he was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.
Cox reached his century with nine fours and a six but was then bowled by Thomas on a score of 104.
That left Llandysul on 190-6 but when Steffan Jones departed having scored 28, trapped leg before by Thomas, their innings began to fall apart.
Devonald took the wicket of Luke Swift and then also ran out Joe Swift before Jac Rees wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Arfon Jones.
The win gives Llanelli 20 points and they remain top of Division 1.
News1 week ago
Police appeal for information on man wanted for recall to prison
News1 week ago
Live music and good times planned for Party at Parc Y Bocs
News1 week ago
MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails
Sport1 week ago
Foel’s Championship dream halted
Sport2 weeks ago
Llanelli earn bragging rights
News7 days ago
Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman
Sport2 weeks ago
Morgan marches seconds home
News1 week ago
European Parliamentary Election Guide