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Judgement day returns

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JUDGEMENT Day is back at Principality Stadium for 2020 – the Guinness PRO14 double-header will see Wales’ Rugby World Cup heroes collide in Cardiff in regional colours on Saturday, April 18, it was confirmed this week.

The Ospreys take on the Dragons at 3pm and Scarlets welcome the Cardiff Blues at 5.15pm as the two teams from the West play host for the first time in the eight year history of the event.

JDVIII sees both Ospreys and Scarlets nominated as the ‘home side’ in the climactic, potentially season-defining, clashes for the first time – meaning their players transfer to the more commonly used international dressing rooms on the ‘tunnel’ side of the Stadium.

Last year the Welsh Rugby Union and regions moved to secure the future of Judgement Day, agreeing a new partnership until 2022 which ensures all four entities benefit directly financially from the agreement, where previously only the home teams gained from ticket income.

All four now play a home game at Principality Stadium as part of Judgement Day in alternate seasons and 80% of the ticket profits for the event are split between the two nominated home sides, with the two away teams receiving 20%.

‘Home’ season ticket holders, so Ospreys and Scarlets fans, gain free entry but must still confirm attendance to reserve their seats with their relevant ticket office by the set deadline of 25th October.

General prices will be £25 middle tier (£10 U16s concession) and £15 for both lower and upper tier adult tickets (including Alcohol Free Zone), although supporters are advised to look-out for offers of £10 adults and £5 U16 which will accompany the official on sale date, likely to be in early November.

“Judgement Day is not only a showpiece event for the Guinness PRO14, but it is also an annual celebration of the domestic game in Wales,” said WRU chairman Gareth Davies.

“Set against the backdrop of Wales’ World Cup campaign in Japan, not to mention the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and whatever twists and turns that may hold for the international side, JDVIII is the chance for our star players to compete on home soil in regional colours.

“The event showcases the best of Welsh rugby at one venue and is always fascinating. Arriving as it does in Round 17 of the league campaign, when all four teams should still have play-off spots to play for, it has the potential to be even bigger and better this year.”

Judgement Day regularly attracts crowds well in excess of 50,000, with the record attendance for the event – and any PRO14 game – standing at 68,262 set in 2016.

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Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final

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Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni have been handed their Scarlets’ European debuts for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol (8.15pm UK time).

Both summer signings are included in a side showing five changes to the line-up that took the field against the Dragons in the Scarlets last match of the Guinness PRO14 season.

Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to face his former side, linking up with Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in an all-international back three.

Williams and Steff Hughes continue their midfield combination, while Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has recovered from injury to partner Dan Jones at half-back.

Skipper Ken Owens, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee pack down in the front row and behind them Tongan international Sam Lousi starts at lock alongside Jake Ball.

In a reshuffled back-row, the PRO14’s turnover king Josh Macleod gets the nod at openside;  Kalamafoni, who featured for Leicester Tigers in the pool stages of the tournament, wears the No. 8 jersey and Scotland international Blade Thomson has recovered from an Achilles issue to start at blindside.

On the bench, Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Javan Sebastian provide front-row cover with Lewis Rawlins and James Davies the other forward replacements. Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien and Tyler Morgan cover the backs. Morgan is set to make his first Scarlets appearance since joining from the Dragons.

The Scarlets and Toulon faced each other twice during the pool stages. A last-gasp converted try grabbed a 17-16 victory for the French side in November. The three-times European champions then claimed a crucial 27-15 win at Parc y Scarlets in January to ensure they topped the group. 

Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is a final for us. If you win three finals in a row you win a trophy. We are that far away from achieving the objective we all set out upon 12 to 13 months ago. It would be lovely to finish it off the right way. Whenever you get the opportunity to play for a trophy you have got to be very respectful and take it deadly serious, which is exactly what our boys have been doing.”

Scarlets team v RC Toulon (Saturday, September 19, 2020; kick-off 8.15pm UK)

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.

Unavailable because of injury

Rob Evans (neck), Rhys Patchell (calf), Liam Williams (foot), Daf Hughes (knee), Steff Thomas (knee), Alex Jeffries (elbow), Tomi Lewis (knee), Aaron Shingler.

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Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host one of the first outdoor sports events in Wales since the Covid-19 lockdown.

Welsh Government has given the go ahead for three trial sport and culture events as part of its continued easing of restrictions.

Pembrey Country Park will host a duathlon on Sunday, September 6, with a limited number of competitors, although there will be no spectators.

The event will be monitored and will help inform Welsh Government policy on future sporting events as the country continues its recovery from Covid-19.

The council is working with Welsh Triathlon to ensure athletes can compete safely, with strict risk assessments and protocols being put into place.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future. Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”

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Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC

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Ammanford AFC are pleased to announce that the Ex Swans legends Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson are back for a second season with the club

The pair helped Ammanford AFC to achieve a respectable seventh place finish in the JD Cymru South league last season.

The Supporters of Ammanford will welcome the news and will be hoping that they can go and watch their team once clearance has been given.

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