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Four wins on the bounce for Llanelli

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Rare attack: Quins breakthrough the Llanelli midfield (Pic. Simon Rice)

Rare attack: Quins breakthrough the Llanelli midfield (Pic. Simon Rice)

Carmarthen Quins 14

Llanelli 40

LLANELLI recorded their fourth win on the bounce at the expense of a Carmarthen Quins side that are in free-fall having now lost five successive games, meaning they haven’t picked up a league win since they beat Bridgend back in November.

Llanelli were rampant in their demolition of their hosts at Carmarthen Park running in five tries in an emphatic bonus point win, but the hosts will be concerned with how easy they were to breach, though they will also take comfort in the fact that Llanelli have demolished other sides in recent weeks, with this game bringing up their 192nd point in four games.

The Quins took an early lead when the languid Craig Evans crossed for an early eight points as he converted his own score, but the lead was short-lived as Llanelli enjoyed a ten minute purple patch which saw them cross the whitewash three times, amassing a colossal 24 points.

Prop Rhys Thomas, wing Ashley Evans and Fly-half Josh Lewis, who was making his debut for the visitors were the men who grabbed the tries.

The impressive debutant also notched five conversions on top of another try in the second half to take his personal tally to 22 making it a real debut to remember.

Replacement Nathan Hart also got on the scoresheet to round off the day for the visitors, who rose to seventh in the table, and have now recorded six victories in a row in all competitions.

The Quins started brightly and it took only four minutes for Evans to cross after spotting a gap and dropping down a gear to accelerate home over the line, converting his own try from to the right of the uprights.

Under five minutes later though and Llanelli were almost level as they started to move through the gears. Tom Price broke away before releasing former Wales U20 international Ashley Evans, who has recently made the move to Parc y Scarlets from near rivals Neath, who romped to the corner only to be denied by a fine covering tackle by Lee Williams.

It was a warning to the Quins, but they did not head it, and moments later the visitors did get their try as prop Thomas rumbled over, providing Lewis with his first two points of the afternoon.

They were in front for the first time in the game with the 20 minute mark approaching as Evans finally crossed the line after some probing runs, Lewis again notched the extras.

The purple patch was complete when they added a third try from Lewis himself, ensuring that they went in at the interval with a 24-6 lead.

The Quins will have been hoping to emerge for the second half a revitalised sides after some stern words in the dressing room, but they rather limped out and after 10 minutes of play the victory and bonus point was secured for Llanelli as Lewis took advantage of the Quins abysmal defending to glide over almost untouched making the score 32-8.

Carmarthen did show some character with a brief show of spirit and determination, but flanker Andrew Green’s unconverted try wasn’t enough to spark a comeback, and with 72 minutes played Hart romped home to conclude a thumping win and a good day at the office for the visitors from Llanelli.

Teams:

Carmarthen Quins:

15 Lee Williams 14 Gavin Thomas 13 Dylan Wyn Morgans 12 Morgan Griffiths 11 Dale Ford 10 Craig Evans 9 Connor Lloyd: 8 Lee Taylor 7 Andrew Green 6 Haydn Pugh 5 Josh Helps 4 Ben Thompson 3 Ian Jones 2 Rhodri Brendan Clancy 1 Nathan Williams

Replacements:

16 Steffan Phillips 17 Rhydian Jenkins 18 William Rhys Taylor 19 Jonathan Gardiner 20 Elis Huw Lloyd 21 Kieran Hardy 22 Iolo Wyn Evans 23 Kieran Douglas Jones

Llanelli:

15 Gareth Walters 14 Ashley Evans 13 Nathan Edwards 12 Jonny Lewis 11 Mike Tagicakibau 10 Josh Lewis 9 Josh Guy 8 Trystan Lloyd 7 Owain Morgan 6 Jack Jones 5 Tom Price 4 Adam Powell 3 Jack Payne 2 Torin Myhill 1 Rhys Thomas

Replacements:

16 Rhys Fawcett 17 Taylor Davies 18 Tom Kaijaks 19 Chris Long 20 Nathan Hart 21 Gareth Davies 22 Ryan Davies 23 Shaun Pearce

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Wales Women building cohesion at start of big year

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Cohesion was the focus for new Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams during his first training camp of 2021.

Having been in post just over a month, Abrahams has spent time watching the Welsh performances in the Allianz Premier 15s and getting to know players and staff but the two-day camp was a welcome opportunity for quality face to face time with an enlarged training squad.

“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.

“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”

Abrahams is buoyed by what he’s seen so far. The vast majority of this training squad play in the Allianz Premiership and our players aren’t just making up the numbers. They’re putting down some big markers – just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a Player of the Match recently and Jaz Joyce who was Player of the Month for December. We’re really proud of how well our players are doing, it’s great for the programme and those experiences are just going to make them better.”

Siwan Lillicrap added, “It’s been nice to get together so soon in the New Year – the first step in a huge year ahead. The focus this weekend was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad.

“I think we absolutely achieved that, the relationships are developing along with a confidence in the squad . It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”

Lillicrap welcomed the input of the new-look coaching team, former Wales captain and Colwyn Bay head coach Rachel Taylor coming in as national skills coach and former Ireland international and Penclawdd forwards coach Sophie Spence joining the set-up as Wales’ World Rugby coaching intern.

“Warren has been very inspirational for us already. It feels like he’s been in post much longer as we’ve done a lot of work on zoom already. It’s great to have Rachel on board. She’s a role model for many of us with what’s she’s done on the field as Wales captain and off it as a coach and Sophie too with her international experience and coaching knowledge.”

Training squad:
Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Meg Webb, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams

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Scarlets slay Dragons

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Pro-14 Conference BScarlets 20 – Dragons 3

SCARLETS started 2021 as they ended 2020 with a Welsh derby victory at Parc y Scarlets.
Tries from man-of-the-match Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Sam Costelow, combined with the boot of Dan Jones ensured Glenn Delaney’s side made it a festive double to move them up to second in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14 standings.
The Scarlets weren’t at their free-flowing best and will be frustrated by the amount of handling errors and ill-discipline in their performance, but the winning run continues ahead of next week’s clash with Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital.
Despite a rare dry night in Llanelli, the opening 40 minutes was littered with errors from both sides and it meant the game had little flow.
The Scarlets enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, but too often passes failed to go to hand.
It was the Dragons who were first on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty from the boot of ex-Scarlet Josh Lewis.
Wales lock Jake Ball limped off moments later with a knee injury to be replaced by Tevita Ratuva, while Wyn Jones, on his 100th appearance, also left the field for a head assessment.
The outstanding Kalamafoni made a powerful surge up the middle of the field to put the Scarlets on the offensive, but again a promising move broke down.
Dan Jones levelled matters on 29 minutes, then added another penalty on the stroke of half-time after a quick tap from Kieran Hardy.
The Scarlets continued to enjoy the better of play in the second period, but had to wait until 57 minutes for the game’s first try.
More pressure led to Gareth Davies being taken out off the ball and Dragons lock Matthew Screech being shown yellow by referee Nigel Owens.
Scarlets went for the corner instead of the shot at goal and a well-worked training move saw Kalamafoni charge across the whitewash for his first try in Scarlets colours, a score converted by Jones.
With former Scarlet Rhodri Williams adding a spark, Dragons looked for an immediate response, but a brilliant turnover from Ratuva snuffed out the threat.
Then in the final play, replacement Sam Costelow picked up a loose ball, sped through the gap and around the final defender for a superb solo score, with the Wales U20s fly-half adding the conversion for good measure.
After the hard-fought win, Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney said: “I suppose it was a compelling contest of a different nature. You saw a lot of kicking battles going on, neither team wanted to give the other counter-attacking opportunities.
“I thought defensively we were very resolute, I never felt we were in danger on our goal-line, it was a bit stop-start with a couple of drop balls, but I am delighted to get the win and we did create a bit more in the second half.
“With these derby games, I am learning every time we play one, they all seem to be pretty much like this and perhaps bring out the best and worst in us because of the individual competition and contest.
“We would have liked to have done a bit more with the ball and the attacking breakdown with us was poor, the Dragons turned over a bit of ball there so we need to be better in that area and make sure when we make the breaks we are able to capitalise.”Attachments area

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Scarlets’ late surge sees off Ospreys

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Pro-14 Conference B – Ospreys 14 – Scarlets 16 

A LATE try from Angus O’Brien secured the derby day spoils in a nail-biting Guinness PRO14 Boxing Day clash against the Ospreys.
The Ospreys, playing as the official ‘home’ team at Parc y Scarlets, had led for the majority of a tense contest.
But with 71 minutes on the clock, a superb off-load from replacement Blade Thomson paved the way for full-back O’Brien to slice through and dive over for the crucial score.
Man of the match Dan Jones added the conversion to put the Scarlets in front for the first time and the West Walians were able to finish the match on the front foot to claim the annual festive bragging rights and a crucial win to keep them in the hunt in the Conference B standings.
O’Brien hadn’t been named in the original match-day 23, but was brought in at the 11th hour as a replacement for Johnny McNicholl.
In blustery conditions, Scarlets enjoyed the early pressure, but despite hammering away at the Ospreys line were unable to come away with any points.
Instead, it was the Ospreys who were first on the board after 14 minutes through the boot of fly-half Stephen Myler.
The opening quarter was proving a cagey affair with both sides unable to get any momentum going.
A moment of individual brilliance from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams, who dummied and sprinted clear from 40 metres, extended the Ospreys’ lead on 22 minutes, but the Scarlets’ response was swift with Jones landing a penalty straight from the kick-off.
Jones hit the upright with another attempt, then a pin-point cross-field kick from Steff Hughes just evaded the grasp of wing Steff Evans with the line at his mercy.
A powerful scrum on the stroke of half-time led to a long-range penalty chance, but O’Brien’s strike drifted wide with the Ospreys going in ahead 8-3 at the break.
Myler extended his side’s lead early in the second half, but Jones kept Scarlets in it with his kicking out of hand and off the floor.
Two more penalties from the Carmarthen fly-half to one from Myler made it 14-9 going into the final 10 minutes.
Then the Scarlets struck.
With Thomson having a big impact off the bench, the back-rower plucked a ball out of the sky as the Scarlets surged forward. He was involved again soon after, producing a sublime pass to O’Brien who cut a great angle to the posts.
With only two points in it, the Scarlets showed their composure to make their way downfield and set up camp in ‘home’ territory for the final minutes, denying the Ospreys any chance to snatch the win.Glenn Delaney reflected on the absence of fans from the stadium.“You go back 12 months and there were 15,000 people here and I don’t think I have experienced anything like it. This place was electric.“I say it every week, we are very fortunate to be in the position we are and we are only here by virtue of the supporters of this great club. We want the fans back here as soon as possible.“Hopefully, they found a chance to shout at the TV screens, get involved and share the experience. The derby season is passionate, the only thing we are missing is the people. We must get the people back into the game, they would have loved the occasion.”On the performance, while Glenn Delaney was ‘delighted’ with the win, he added: “There is plenty for us to work on. We stayed in the game and that’s what you have to do in a derby.“There were a lot of things we weren’t happy about in terms of our skillsets and penalty count, we were very ill-disciplined and we need to correct that. We were putting pressure on ourselves. We were trying to play and we were quite close on a couple of occasions, a couple of pass-kicks almost went to hand.“Probably not having a game for a week or so showed, our timing was a bit off; we have had a couple of disjointed weeks, we looked a bit rusty. I thought the Ospreys were excellent, put us under pressure and took their points well.”

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