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
Legg departs Llanelli Town
MANAGER Andy Legg has left Llanelli Town as the club seeks to make a number of changes.
Lee departed on Thursday evening (Nov 25) while coaches Gary Lloyd and Chris Thomas have also left their roles.
It comes just hours after the club announced that captain Kyle Copp had also left the club.
Kyle made 42 appearances for the Reds scoring 8 goals. He made his debut against Goytre back in August 2019.
The club had also announced on Tuesday that Zac Brown was leaving the club. He had played 41 times for the Reds scoring nine times.
Speaking of Legg’s departure a statement on the club’s social media pages reads: “Although not an easy decision given his club status and what he has achieved over the years here at Stebonheath Park we would all like to wish him the best and he will always receive a warm welcome here.
“With our club vision set out by chairman Wayne Stephens many changes will be made throughout the whole club over the Christmas period.
“We will announce Andy’s successor in due course. Thanks again Leggy.”
Commenting on his departure on Twitter, Andy said: “Just a quick message to say thank you the supporters for you support during my time at the club. We wish the club well.”
Llanelli Town currently sit in sixth place in the JD Cymru South table with six wins, five draws and four defeats in their 15 league games so far this season.
Legg’s last game in charge of the club was a 3-0 loss away at Goytre United.
They are next in action on Friday, December 3, when they face Goytre United in the reverse fixture at Stebonheath Park, kick off 7:30pm.
PHOTO by Llanelli Town
Trostre win again in Premier Division
TROSTRE picked up another win in the Carmarthenshire Premier Division on Saturday (Nov 20) as they came from behind to beat Seaside.
Nathan Lewis put Seaside ahead on 11 minutes but Dominic Saunders levelled for the league leaders on 25 minutes.
Just three minutes later Liam Jones scored to put Trostre ahead and Luke Jones scored ten minutes before the break to make it 3-1.
They were then dealt a blow as Jack James was shown a second yellow card and was given his marching orders shortly before half time.
Just a minute later Tray Jenkins scored for the home side to make it 2-3 and to give them some hope of turning the game around in the second half.
However, just three minutes in to the second half Liam Jones scored his second goal of the game and he then completed his hat trick on 50 minutes.
That made it 5-2 to the visitors and all but ended any hopes Seaside had of getting something from the game.
Luke Jones then scored his second goal of the game on 64 minutes to make it 6-2.
Christopher Price-Williams completed the scoring with fourteen minutes to go but that wasn’t the end of the action.
Seaside were given a penalty two minutes from the end but Jay Evans could not convert the spot kick and Trostre saw the game out for a 7-2 win.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Pengelli and Pontlliw drew 2-2.
Adam Scott put Pontlliw ahead after just six minutes as he scored a penalty but Shaun Rees equalised for Pengelli only four minutes later.
Ben Higgins scored on 89 minutes to seemingly give Pontlliw the win but in injury time, Carl Timbrell scored to make it 2-2.
The other game saw Killay earn a 2-1 win away at Loughor Rovers.
After a goalless first half, Ben Lynch opened the scoring on 51 minutes and just five minutes it was 2-0 as Liam Bennett doubled Killay’s lead.
Sub Michael Grimwade pulled a goal back for Loughor with nine minutes to go but they were unable to find an equaliser.
Fixtures for Saturday, November 27:
Burry Port v Killay
Gorseinon Athletic v Trallwm
Pontlliw v Loughor
Seaside v Pengelli United
All games are scheduled to kick off at 2pm.
Burry Port and Gorseinon share the points
BURRY Port and Gorseinon shared the points on Saturday (Nov 20) as their Carmarthenshire Premier Division game finished 2-2.
The game was just four minutes old when the first goal went in as Charlie Taylor finished after being set up by Lewis James.
Gorseinon battled back though and just ten minutes later they were given a penalty. Matthew Brandon took the spot kick and scored to level the game.
Just six minutes before the break the visitors were given another penalty and Brandon again stepped up to score.
Gorseinon led 2-1 at the break but they knew they would face a comeback from a Burry Port side who had got back to winning ways the previous week, having not won since September 11.
And in the 62nd minute they did get themselves level as Taylor scored his second goal of the game.
Both sides went in search of a winner in what was a competitive game but it finished 2-2.
On Saturday, November 27, Burry Port host Killay while Gorseinon Athletic are at home against Trallwm.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
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