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Principality Stadium officially unveiled

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New name: The Principality Stadium replaces the familiar Millennium Stadium

New name: The Principality Stadium replaces the familiar Millennium Stadium

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.

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Llanelli AC round off season

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LLANELLI Athletics Club junior members from under 11’s upwards rounded off their track and field season with the annual end-of-season Inter Club Competition at the Pemberton Athletics Track on the final Tuesday of August.

Events held were 75m, 100m, 800m, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin and Shot.

48 hours later, it was the turn of the under 17, under 20 and senior athletes to participate in the track championships situated next to Parc Y Scarlets.

They were great evenings of friendly competition in front of family, friends and coaches as members now look forward to the cross country, road and indoor season in Wales and further afield in England.

Thirty-five under 11, under 13 and under 15 athletes took part on the first evening whilst more than a dozen of the club’s under 17, under 20 and senior were in action at the second event.

Age Group winners will be announced at the club’s annual presentation evening later this year.

Elsewhere, there was a good representation of senior and master athletes at the recent Cardiff Metropolitan University 10K in the Welsh Capital.

Out of the twenty-six running from the club, twelve recorded new personal bests over this distance in an event which saw more than 6,000 runners finish as it continues to grow year on year.

Finishing times: Dai Keenan (34:02), Nick Sheehan (34:04), Dean Summers (34:22), Jimmy Watkins (34:37), Jamie Stedman (36:29), Alan Davies (36:57), Simon Rees (38:36), Rob Davies (42:55), Mike Halsall (44:16), Jordan Chappell (45:27), Tahir Altimimi (45:47), Craig Hopkins (46:10), Roxanne Turner (47:36), Luigi Bonifacio (52:56), Vanessa Buckler (53:35), Andrew Stephens (55:02), Andrew Bowen (55:27), Emily Denmark (56:11), Heledd Jones (59:48), Hannah Gale (59:49), Rachel Evans (60:29), Zoe Jermin-Jones (63:14), Lisa Campion (67:40), Rob Campion (67:42), Vicki Turner (71:22) and Amanda de la Hey (74:29).

Carmarthen’s David Jones crossed the line as the 63rd male home, in a time of 34 minutes 45 seconds.

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Stars batter Bynea

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New Dock Stars 91-0 Bynea

NEW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they thrashed Bynea 91-0.

The home side ran in thirteen tries in an impressive display which saw Jason Baxter convert ten of those.

Jordan Evans, Josh Harris and Luke Morris all scored twice as did Joe Scott and Stu Taylor.

Luke Edwards, Kieron James and Levi Roots also bagged themselves a try each as they showed no let up against their opponents.

Baxter also added two penalties for an excellent personal haul of 26 points.

The result lifts the Stars up to third in the table while Bynea remain bottom.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Bynea will look to bounce back when they face Laugharne in the first round of the WRU Bowl.

The Stars will be full of confidence after their big win and they face Tumble in the first round of the Bowl.

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Trim too good for Furnace

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Furnace 8-21 Trimsaran

TRIMSARAN travelled the short distance to Furnace on Saturday (Sept 14) for what was an entertaining derbt clash.

This was the first meeting between the two teams for a few years as Furnace were promoted along with Penygroes last season after finishing second in League 3 West Central C last season.

The cherries won their first game last week against Bynea by 55-8 so were on a high coming into the game after also having a successful pre-season which saw them win all 3 of their games.

Trim also made a winning start to the season last week after a narrow victory over Cefneithin by 18-15.

Trimsaran were under no illusions how difficult this game would be and knew they would have to give 110% if they wanted to stop the cherries.

Trim kicked off and after a handling error Furnace had the early initiative with a scrum near halfway.

Trim showed their intention from this scrum driving Furnace back 10-15 meters and getting awarded the early penalty.

This was the start of a period of 20 minutes where Trim were pressuring the Furnace defence and in the home teams territory constantly.

Furnace did show some strong defence and had secured a couple of turnover but it wasn’t long until Trim took a well-deserved lead after second row Emyr Evans crossed the whitewash to open the scoring after some good build up work by Trim.

Furnace ill-discipline allowed Trim to get the territory and within the next 10 minutes Trim had extended their lead to 11-0 after two penalties by fly half Corey Phillips.

Photo by Darren Harries

Furnace came into the game now after a loose return kick from the kick off and had a run of possession and territory, this allowed them to break down the wing and score their first try of the game in the corner against the run of play. The score was now 5-11 to the visitors with 10 minutes of the first half left.

Trim were back pressuring the home team deep in their 22 and set up a driving maul from a lineout but some good defence from Furnace turned the ball over and allowed them to clear their lines.

However, some more ill-discipline for being offside allowed Trim to again get territory and after a few good phases of play from the forwards the ball was passed out to winger Callum McCormack who touched down for his teams second try in the corner.

The difficult conversion was nailed over by Corey Phillips and with only 5 minutes of the first half remaining the score was 5-18.

From the kick off Trim cleared their lines only to be told it was kicked out on the full so Furnace now had an ideal attacking lineout just before half time to hit back. The cherries were awarded a scrum 5 yards out after the ball became unplayable and had one more chance as the ref called last play to get some sort of points.

Furnace tried to power their way through but Trim held them out before they spread the ball wide and were tackled into touch to bring the first half to an end. Trim were happy with the outcome at half time but knew Furnace would come back at them in the second half all guns blazing.

Furnace kicked off the second half and were the team to pressure first. They were awarded a penalty of their own which they kicked at goal to reduce the deficit after 5 minutes of the second half.

Trim pushed for another score to extend their league but a pass was intercepted by the Furnace hooker and he booted the ball back down deep into the Trim 22.

A shove from the Cherries number 9 off the ball resulted in a yellow card for him as the ref had finally had enough of the penalties conceded after numerous warnings. This allowed Trim to clear their lines and retain possession from the lineout.

The game started to turn a bit scrappy now with both teams failing to retain possession for enough phases to trouble the defensive lines. Furnace did have a break down the wing but the green and blacks defence was strong enough to keep them out only for Furnace to be awarded a penalty and a shot at goal which was unsuccessful. 5 minutes later it was Trim who were extending their lead thanks to a drop goal from hooker and captain Ryan Edwards to make the score 8-21 with 20 minutes left.

Trim had a further chance through a penalty to take the game beyond the home team but the shot at goal was just missed. Furnace had more possession and territory in the final 10 minutes of the game but the green and blacks held firm in defence and managed to hold out everything the cherries threw at them. When the ref called last play of the game full back Dan Griffiths booted the ball off the field to secure an impressive win for Trimsaran and to make it two wins out of two.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Trimsaran host Amman United and Furnace travel to Cardigan in the first round of the Specsavers National Bowl.

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