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.
Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages
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.
Wales v Scotland postponed
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.”
Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended
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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