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Ryan Jones appointed Head of WRU Rugby Participation

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Ryan Jones: Joins the WRU Executive Board

Ryan Jones: Joins the WRU Executive Board

THE WRU has appointed Ryan Jones, the former Wales captain and British and Irish Lion, as Head of Rugby Participation.

Jones, who has 75 caps, will join the WRU Executive Board with a remit to get more people across Wales engaged more often with rugby at all levels and in all its forms. In doing so he will represent more than 300 clubs across Wales and provide them with a voice at rugby’s top table.

Martyn Phillips, Chief Executive, WRU said: “Whilst Ryan’s credentials as a player and captain of Wales are obvious, of more importance to me is his reputation as a role model for players, his desire to put something back into a game that has served him so well and to put his obvious energy into being the figurehead for the community game in Wales. He impressed us with his desire to be very visible in the role, to roll up his sleeves and to take accountability for growing participation across men’s, women’s and kids’ rugby via existing and new forms of the game. We are a rugby organisation and along with Geraint John, we have two individuals who are steeped in the tradition of the game in Wales and importantly open to modernisation for a healthy future.” Jones is one of an elite band of players to have won three Grand Slams with Wales (2005, 2008 and 2012) and he also played an integral role in his country’s retention of the RBS 6 Nations title in 2013.

Jones also captained the Ospreys from 2007 to 2010 and counts four Guinness Pro12 titles amongst his achievements.

Of his new position Jones said: “We are a passionate rugby nation and I am a product of that. My goal is to make the game that so many of us love and care about accessible to more people, more often with more fun. Rugby has helped shape me into the person I am today and I believe I have a duty to put something back. I’m excited to get started.

“The impact rugby can have on a community and the wonderful values and opportunities it can offer individuals of all ages from personal development to fitness and friendship is something to celebrate. I want to combine my passion with the existing great work being done by the team at the WRU to open up those opportunities to more people. I really believe that whatever your age there’s an aspect of the game you can be a part of – be it as a player, a coach, a referee, supporter or volunteer. The modern game is evolving. The increasing popularity of the women’s game, sevens and tag and touch makes it an exciting time to be involved in the sport.

“I will champion at board level the needs, concerns and direction of the community game in Wales. I want to remain both visible and accessible and I would encourage those with a modern perspective on the game and a desire to innovate to get in touch and share their ideas.”

Jones’ formative years were spent playing rugby at Risca, Newport, University of Wales Institute Cardiff and Bridgend. Despite retiring from the professional game in 2015 Jones continues to play an active role in rugby at a community level as a coach at Mumbles RFC. He is also a Director and Trustee for Disability Sport Wales.

Jones will join newly appointed Geraint John, Head of Rugby Performance, on the WRU Executive Board. By splitting the former head of rugby role into two new roles the WRU aims to give greater focus and representation to both participation and, at the later stages, performance aspects of the game.

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Foel’s Championship dream halted

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FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.

Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.

Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.

Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.

Photos by Darren Harries

The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.

It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.

Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.

Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.

Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.

At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.

After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.

“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”

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Morgan marches seconds home

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DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.

Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.

Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.

Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.

Photo by Darren Harries

The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.

On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.

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Sport

Jones duo sink Bronwydd

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LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.

Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.

Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.

James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.

Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.

Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.

Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.

Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries

Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.

Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.

Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.

That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.

Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.

Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.

Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.

Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.

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