GERAINT JOHN has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Welsh Rugby Union as its new Head of Rugby Performance.
John returned to Wales in September as the WRU’s Elite Coach Development Manager after ten years working abroad – with Rugby Canada as High Performance Manager and then Sevens Head Coach before joining the Australian Rugby Union as Program Director of Sevens and Men’s Sevens Head Coach in June 2014.
The former Wales assistant/skills coach, who has also coached at Llanelli, Cardiff Met and Cardiff Blues, takes up one of two new WRU Executive Board positions created to replace the ‘Head of Rugby’ post recently vacated by Josh Lewsey.
He will work alongside a new ‘Head of Rugby Participation’ allowing John to focus on the professional game in Wales, with his new colleague – yet to be appointed – tasked with giving the amateur game a voice at Welsh rugby’s top table.
“Geraint has impressed everyone since his return to Welsh rugby last year,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.
“His ten years away from Wales have benefited him hugely exposing him to high performance environments, World Cups and the Sevens circuit and working with governing bodies and World Rugby.
“Even more importantly he is a natural collaborator and relationships builder. I’m in no doubt that he will be a catalyst for greater alignment and common purpose in the professional game in Wales.”
As WRU Head of Rugby Performance John will focus on the professional and semi-professional game in Wales, developing the high performance strategy and ensuring a close working relationship between national team management, regional and Principality Premiership coaches.
He will also lead the development of bespoke programmes for players identified as future national talent, have responsibility for ensuring that Wales performs to its potential in all international pathway competitions and will ensure a clear purpose and ambition for Principality Premiership rugby in Wales.
“I’m thrilled and very honoured to be taking on the challenge of a role which is so integral to both the current and future success of our national game,” said John.
“It is highly significant that Martyn has identified the need to split the former Head of Rugby role into two parts to allow each of us to focus on and therefore do justice to each key area.
“I am looking forward to working closely with the regions, the Premiership clubs and everyone concerned so that collectively we can ensure that Wales reaches its potential and beyond on the world stage, as part of the high performance programme. To do this, I look forward to engaging all strands of the game as we work to achieve those aims”
Applications for the post of WRU Head of Rugby Participation have now closed and an announcement is expected soon.
This role, which will work alongside the WRU Head of Rugby Performance, will provide a voice for the community game on the WRU’s Executive Board, driving participation levels in the amateur game with a renewed focus on mini, schools, youth, women’s and 2nd team club rugby.
Key responsibilities for the Head of Rugby Participation will also include ensuring a clear purpose and ambition for the National leagues up to SSE SWALEC Championship level, increasing participation of all rugby formats, both traditional and alternative and providing a focal point for referees.
Raiders seal first ever win
West Wales Raiders 44
Coventry Bears 16
Lucas Marshall, Stebonheath Park,
A LATE rally by Coventry Bears was not enough to deny a jubilant West Wales Raiders their first-ever win at the 45th time of asking.
The old South Wales Ironmen tasted victory against Gloucestershire All Golds in the first match played at Stebonheath Park back in July 2017, but never before have the side won under the Raiders banner. And it was certainly worth the wait as the Raiders dominated much of the game against a Bears side that doesn’t have the best record when travelling to South Wales. The other game the Ironmen won in 2017 was against Coventry, whilst the Bears only won by 10 points at Llanelli last season.
Dewi Billingham made his Coventry debut while trialist Zak Williams made his first appearance since returning to the Bears. But both former Raiders stars were unable to come back to haunt their former employers.
Much of the damage was done in the first half with the Raiders taking control from the kick-off and eventually going in 20-0 up at the break.
It took only six minutes for Raiders to break the Bears defence when good work down the left put Dalton Desmond-Walker in for the opener. Phil Cowburn added the extras but was off target just moments later after Ash Bateman was on the end of some quick passing to go in on the right.
When Morgan Evans went in for the Raiders third, again converted by Cowburn, their loyal band of supporters started to believe they were on course for victory.
It could have been even worse for the Bears, but strong defence saw them hold the visitors up over the line on three occasions mid-way through the half. Although there was no denying Archie Snook with one of the final plays of the half after Welsh International Steve Parry had split the Bears defence to put the centre through. Cowburn once again failed with the conversion but the Raiders still celebrated their most positive 40 minutes in almost two years.
After the break, it was the Bears who struck first through Reece Rance, but any hopes of a comeback were soon extinguished by three quick-fire tries.
First, former Bears player Mitch Shaw scooted over, before Bateman and Snook both got their second try of the afternoon to all but secure the victory for the Llanelli-based outfit.
Parry then went in for the Raiders’ eighth try of the day to put the icing on a long-awaited cake.
But the Bears were by no means done and added two further tries of their own to make the scoreline look a little less dominate than the game suggested.
Tries from Errol Carter and South Wales youth system graduate Cobi Green, along with two Joe Sanderson conversions rounded off the scoring for the visitors.
Dafen see off Porthcawl
DAFEN Seconds earned their sixth win of the season on Saturday (Jul 6) as they beat Porthcawl by 75 runs.
Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Dafen out for 182.
Opener Oliver Evans made a score of 19 and Chris Randell scored 25 as a number of Dafen batsmen made good starts.
Jonathan Griffiths scored 22 and there were also scores of 15 from Tom Lavender and 16 from Luke Dunning.
Matthew Thomas made a late score of 18 while Andrew Randell top scored with 43 runs.
Nicholas Morgan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for the loss of 30 runs from his 6.3 overs.
Mark Bevan also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-37.
That set Porthcawl 138 to win but they lost a number of batsmen for single figure scores as they struggled to put runs on the board.
Andrew Randell had Nicholas Morgan caught by Jac Morgan and Matthew Thomas had Rhodri Phillips caught by Chris Randell.
Chris Richards made a score of 13 before he was bowled by Rhys Marchant who then also bowled Rob Warren and had David Lewis caught by Chris Randell, both for ducks.
Tim Richards also fell for a duck when he was caught off the bowling of Matthew Thomas.
Mark Lewis had scored 25 but he also fell to the bowling of Marchant.
Steffan Flood also scored 25 before he was bowled by Chris Randell and Joshua Aubrey added 20 late on before he also fell to the bowling of Randell.
That meant that Porthcawl were all out for 107, giving Dafen seconds an excellent win.
On Saturday (Jul 13), Dafen seconds are away to local rivals Llanelli seconds.
Rees century sees Llanelli to win
LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees scored a century on Saturday (Jul 6) to help his side to victory over Briton Ferry Steel.
Briton Ferry won the toss and elected to bat but they were restricted to 186-8 in their innings.
Steven Devonald struck early on to remove Evan Hynes but Lloyd Clement and Jamie Griffiths shared 44 runs for the second wicket.
Jac Rees had Griffiths caught by Craig Howells on a score of 24 and soon after Craig Evans was bowled by Aled Gilley for a duck.
Clement had made a score of 41 but when he was bowled by Rees, the Steel found themselves on 81-4.
That soon became 88-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Marcus Leaf off the bowling of Gilley.
Iwan Rees then had Steffan Evans caught by Howells and Rhys Norgrove fell in similar fashion.
Jason Hughes and Thomas Williams shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket as they looked to give their side a total to defend.
On the last ball Williams was caught by Rees off the bowling of Gilley on a score of 24 which left Hughes not out on 67.
Llanelli openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips shared 42 runs for the first wicket before Phillips was caught by Rhys Norgrove off the bowling of Jay Webb.
That was as good as it got for the Steel though as they were unable to claim any further wickets.
Craig Howells hit seven fours as he finished unbeaten on 53 while Rees starred with 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 104.
The win gives Llanelli 19 points and keeps them third in the table. On Saturday (Jul 13), they travel to local rivals Dafen.
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