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Warriors take on tough schedule

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Warriors: About to embark on a journey

WHILST many have commented on the intensity of the Lions schedule an integrated rugby team from Llanelli have put together an arguably tougher itinerary for their tour of New Zealand and Samoa.

The Llanelli Warriors are an integrated side who actively look to include players with learning disabilities and are touring to the Pacific as part of their 21st Anniversary celebrations. In just 15 days the team will play 3 matches in New Zealand and 1 in Samoa.

They will also watch both the Wales tests, the Chiefs match with the Lions and the All Blacks vs Samoa. If that wasn’t enough there is a full social schedule around the rugby as well.

The Warriors were formed in 1995 to give men with a learning disability an opportunity to play rugby. The club has come a long way in 20 years and we wanted to put something special. Through this trip these players will join a very exclusive club of players who have played in Samoa where even the likes of England, South Africa and Australia have never played.

Chairman/player Gwilym Lewis explained the importance of the trip: “Research shows that people with learning difficulties often find it harder to make friends, they tend to have smaller social circles and opportunities for further education and employment can be very limited. Rugby gives the players a chance to participate and contribute to the community.

“They play alongside and against non-disabled players, gaining confidence, respect and new friends. There are three main elements to rugby that make it a great vehicle for social inclusion; the physicality fosters respect, the team work element encourages friendship and the social aspect gives everyone a chance to mingle afterwards as equals. That awkwardness that people can feel disappears over a beer.

“The bottom line though is that rugby is a great sport, hard as it is, and as in New Zealand and Samoa its part of the culture. This tour though is about going beyond joining in with friends and family in the sport, this is going to make our players who without the club might be stuck on the sidelines, into the envy of those family and friends.

“We also want to show that a disability doesn’t have to be the barrier that some think. We are taking this to the hardest rugby environments in the world, we couldn’t travel any further and we will be playing mainstream sides. We think it’s the most ambitious sporting project ever undertaken in learning disability sport.”

Richard Evans, a veteran prop of over 150 matches who will lead the trip, said: “I’m very proud to be chosen and I’m really looking forward. I’m sure we can do really well and win our matches, but win or lose we’ll have a great time.”

Jamie Evans has organised the trip, saying: “To be out there while the Lions are touring is going to be something special in itself, that Wales are playing there and us having our own series, I don’t think there are many sides that would look to take this on.”

A tour party of 32 will be embarking on the tour with about half the players registered as disabled.

The trip has caught the imagination and fund raising has been well supported. Brecon RFC and Llansawel RFC have made significant contributions, Peter Rees, Wales oldest international took part in a Q&A session at Burry Port while Former Lion Tom David spoke at their dinner.

“The fund raising has shown us just how much the community value the Warriors and what we do” said Jamie.

“The Just Giving page raised £1,500 and we’ve had support from all our regular opponents like Cefneithin and Gwlad in Cardiff as well. We can’t thank people enough but we promise that we will make the very most of this opportunity.”

The history of the Lions has former players to a man talking about important a tour like this was to them, for some of the Warriors players this is the sort of trip that could be life changing.

Warriors Tour to New Zealand and Samoa itinerary:

Wed 14/6/17: Travel to London, Flight from London 21:25

Thu 15/6/17: Travel (via Bangkok)

Fri 16/6/17: Arrive Auckland 10:45, attend Tonga v Wales, NZ v Samoa

Sat 17/6/17: Travel to Hamilton, FairField United Yellowbellies v Llanelli Warriors (Maori v Lions 19:35 (Rotarua) on tv)

Sun 18/6/17: South Auckland Kiwis v Llanelli Warriors (Hamilton Marist RFC)

Mon 19/6/17: Travel to Te Kuiti for unveiling of Sir Colin Meads statue

Tue 20/6/17: Cycle ride and Hot Baths, Attend Chiefs v Lions (19:35)

Wed 21/6/17: Travel to Auckland, depart 16:25, Arrive Apia 21:15

Thu 22/6/17: Vaiala Ulalei Sports Club v Llanelli Warriors

Fri 23/6/17: Attend Samoa v Wales

Sat 24/6/17: Pualele Paddle Club – paddling in bay at Apia (NZ v Lions 21:35)

Sun 25/6/17: Depart Apia 21:55, Arrive Auckland 1:10

Mon 26/6/17: Tour of brewery

Tue 27/6/17: College Rifles RFC v Llanelli Warriors (Hurricanes v Lions on tv)

Wed 28/6/17: Depart Auckland 13:10

Thu 28/6/17: Arrive London

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Rob Evans and Steff Hughes leaving Scarlets

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SCARLETS has confirmed that Rob Evans and Steff Hughes are amongst the nine players who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.

It has already been announced that Liam Williams has signed for Cardiff Rugby and Angus O’Brien is rejoining the Dragons for next season, while James Davies revealed in April that he is retiring from the game on medical grounds.

As well as Rob and Steff, the Llanelli-based side will also be saying its farewells and thanks to Tyler Morgan, Marc Jones, Tom Phillips and Tomi Lewis after Saturday’s final URC match of the season against DHL Stormers.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I’d like to thank all these players for everything they have given to the Scarlets jersey.

“Boys like Rob, Steff, Cubby and Liam have played more than a century of games for the club and they will be fondly remembered by everyone here, staff, team-mates and supporters.

“They can be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I am sure they will have great memories of representing the Scarlets over the years.

“Every season players move on and we always respect the decisions that are made. With a reduced playing budget, we have had to cut our squad for next season and that has meant we have had some difficult decisions to make.

“The players have continued to give their full commitment, as they have always done, and I’m sure our supporters will give them the reception they all deserve at our final game against the Stormers on Saturday. I wish them all well for what comes next.”

SCARLETS LEAVERS 2021-22

ROB EVANS
The Pembrokeshire loose-head came through the Scarlets Academy and after playing for Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Premiership made his senior debut against Sale Sharks in January 2013. Rob has made 156 Scarlets appearances and scored 13 tries, including one in Glasgow that secured a memorable away semi-final victory in the PRO14. Was a member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and will be remembered as a larger than life character around the squad during his 10 seasons at Parc y Scarlets. Capped 39 times for Wales,

LIAM WILLIAMS

Liam Williams is bringing to an end his second spell with the Scarlets. The 31-year-old Wales international full-back and British & Irish Lion has played 119 games for the club and has scored 34 tries, one of which set the Scarlets on their way to PRO12 glory in the final in 2017. Liam is joining Cardiff Rugby for next season.

STEFF HUGHES

Steff Hughes has made 104 appearances and scored seven tries for the Scarlets since making his debut at centre in an LV=Cup game against Saracens nine years ago. A former Wales U20s captain, the Llanelli product has skippered the Scarlets on numerous occasions, including the memorable European pool win in Bath in 2020. His two tries in a thrilling home clash against Connacht in the same season helped secure Champions Cup qualification once again.

JAMES DAVIES

James Davies has retired from rugby on medical grounds after battling concussion issues. ‘Cubby Boi’ made his Scarlets debut in 2013 and went on to make 101 appearances in a Scarlets jersey. Delivered a superb try-scoring display in the PRO12 title-winning triumph over Munster and went on to win 11 caps for Wales. Cubby also represented Wales 7s at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the 2016 Olympics.

MARC JONES

The experienced hooker joined the Scarlets from Sale in the summer of 2018 after making more than 150 appearances for the Sharks. The 35-year-old played 46 times for the Scarlets over four seasons, scoring four tries.

ANGUS O’BRIEN

Angus O’Brien made his Scarlets debut in 2018 and has made 45 appearances, scoring 112 points, including seven tries. The fly-half is returning to play for his home region, the Dragons, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

TOM PHILLIPS

A former Wales U20s Grand Slam-winning captain, Tom has played 30 matches for the Scarlets since making his senior debut in 2015. Suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the opening URC match of the season in Edinburgh.

TYLER MORGAN

The Wales international centre has been at the Scarlets for two seasons, making his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulon in 2020. The 26-year-old has made 22 appearances, scoring one try.

TOMI LEWIS

A Wales sevens international,Tomi has made two senior appearances for the Scarlets. Returned to action this season after a lengthy absence recovering from knee surgery and has been playing in the Indigo Premiership for Llandovery RFC.

Physiotherapist Carys Moggridge is also leaving the Scarlets to take up a role with the Welsh Rugby Union.

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Matchroom Whites win Worthington Cup

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MATCHROOM Whites have won the Llanelli Snooker League’s Worthington Cup team final, after a 4-1 victory in the final against Morfa Social

A highlight of the match was another fine Tyler Rees break of 89, although the maximum was on at one point.

Tyler Rees’ winning streak wasn’t over though, as he teamed up with his Matchroom teammate Chris Davies to win the final of the Doubles tournament, defeating Dean Bowen and Mark Sargent; more nice breaks in this one, Rees firing another 68, while Chris Davies added a fine 71.

Meanwhile, more success for the Matchroom came with Matchroom Blacks’ 4-1 Division 2 Olympic Cup final victory at the expense of Reading Room Reds, with Ryan Maides, Adrian Davies, Rhys Morgan and Thomas Williams winning; just Phil Payne offered any winning resistance for the Burry Port side.

Meanwhile, Ammanord Snooker World’s leftie Anthony Krysa is through to the final of this year’s Singles, after a 3-0 victory against Kev Gronow of the Gremlin Club; Krysa made some nice breaks, including a fine 75 knock.

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Llanelli Snooker League: Trimsaran clinch runners-up spot

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THE curtain came down on the Llanelli Snooker League with the final league fixtures seeing Trimsaran clinch the runners-up spot behind champions Matchroom Reds.

Trim secured two 6-1 wins, a rearranged victory over Cross Hands B, as well as a 6-1 victory against Pontarddulais Workmens’, the undoubted highlight a superb 110 break from Jamie Tudor; Lewis Lloyd, Kieran Proctor (49 break), Wayne Thomas (29 & 25) and Alan Emanuel added wins, Keri Davies (50 break) the only Bont reply.

Relegated bottom – Ponthenri Social went out with a bang, defeating Upper Tumble Blues 6-1, courtesy of Jeff Howells, Mark Regola, Kevin Lewis, Nigel Lewis and Dylan James; only John Shields replied.

Peter Shoulder and Chris Lloyd were on top for Llanesco, beaten 5-2 by Matchroom Whites; Tyler Rees (45 & 35 breaks), Chris Davies, Wayne Bowen and Dai Keenan won for the “Gwyns”.

Elsewhere, Snooker World Whites hammered Llanelli Cons 7-0, D.Jones, A.Krysa, Ben Thomas, A.Whitfield, Sam Hinton and John Meadows completing the rout.

Alex Dickie prevented the “whitewash” as Cross Hands B crashed again, 6-1 at Gorseinon Workmens’; Charlie Bolton, Mike Dodd, Johnny Wilcox, Roy Wilcox and Jordan Davies all won for the Brighton Road side.

Kevin Selwood, Kieran Evans, Paul Rees and Alun Harris gave Pontyberem Workmens’ a 5-2 win against Burry Port Legion (Con Club), who hit back via Garnet Lane and Rich Nurse.

Morfa Social’s winners in a 5-2 win at Reading Room Blues were Scott Ashford, Andrew Hatto, Barry Follows and Greg Davies; Adrian Gower and Neil Roberts struck for the Burry Porters.

In Division 2, champions Gremlins were defeated 6-1 at Upper Tumble Reds, for whom Nigel Beynon, Nolan Allison, Alan Griffiths, Kevin Evans and Mike Sainty (53 break) won; just Matthew Dagnall won for the title-winners.

Matchroom Blacks secured the runners-up spot following a 4-3 win against New Lodge, thanks to Rhys Morgan (37 break), Ryan Maides and James Anthony; Gary Williams, George Langford and Phil Thickett replied.

Steve Pearson was Llandybie Social B’s solitary frame winner in a 6-1 defeat as Llandybie RFC took the village honours after Steffan Crump, Sion Isaac, Josh Jordan, Callum Isaac and Kalem James all won.

Bryn A edged a 4-3 success at Snooker World Blues, courtesy of Roy Richards, Clive Richards and Connor Sharples (32); Peter Howatson, Chris Waters and Steff Rees won for the Ammanford side.

Tycroes RFC end the season bottom after a 5-2 loss at CGMD, whose winners were Ray Evans, James Varney, Mike Llewelyn and Brian Chappell; Marc Walters and Arwyn Rees won for the away side.

Meanwhile, Tony Shadrach and Geraint Thomas were Pont Cons frame winners in a 5-2 loss at Cross Hands A; for the latter, Howell Pritchard, Jeff Howells (23) Matthew James (22) and Dai Bunford were on the ball.

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