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Overhaul of rugby in Wales

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Josh Lewsey: Head of Rugby approves of changes

Josh Lewsey: Head of Rugby approves of changes

THE WELSH RUGBY UNION has approved important changes to the Principality Premiership as part of a wide-ranging review of competition structures across the game in Wales.

The WRU Board has decided that from season 2016/17 the number of clubs in the Premiership will be increased from its current 12 teams to up to a total of 16.

There will be no relegation from the Premiership at the end of next season (2015/16) to launch the transition process, nor for the two seasons following its inception.

The decisions were made followingrecommendationspresented to the WRU Board by a Competitions Pathway Working Group which was made up from stakeholders across the league structure and from within the governing body.

The members included representatives from the Welsh Rugby Union, Regional Rugby and the Principality Premiership.

Details of the WRU Board decisions will be outlined directly to all stakeholders and further discussions will take place on some elements of the review.

Within the overview the Board confirmed a commitment to the EPCR competition and the Guinness Pro 12 as crucial elements of the elite player pathway structure.

The board approved the following recommendations for the Principality Premiership:

It was agreed that funding for the division will remain at the recently increased level with further consideration to be given to an alteration in the delivery mechanism to reward those clubs which do the most to produce players and coaches for regional and international rugby. It was also agreed to continue discussions to ensure an equitable funding structure forteamsenteringthenewlyconstituted Premiership from season 2016/17.

From season 2016/17 the Principality Premiership will be increased to include up to 16 teams from the current limit of 12 with no relegation considered for the first three years. The new league structure will continuetobemonitoredandreviewed.

Only clubs that achieve a full A licencewillbeconsideredforpromotion to the new league structure. Clubs must register their applications for A licences by August 31 and will be given until 18 December 2015 to achieve licence criteria. These clubs will then be made aware of the funding structure available if they achieve promotion.

A consultation process will be started with the Championship Division teams to discuss the effect of the Premiership changes on this league.

A new Premiership Challenge Cup is to be introduced from season 2015/16.

This will primarily be a development tool with rounds taking place to correspond with British and Irish Cup weekends throughout the season. This will help strengthen the development pathway into the Premiership through schools, college and youth rugby.

To help bolster the Challenge Cup a new player ID programme will be formulated to ensure a flow of school, college and youth players to the Premier Division competition structure.

The WRU Head of Rugby, Josh Lewsey, said: “The Board’s decision is a big step forward to align the development pathway and safeguard the future of the game in Wales. There has been a long and detailed debate on these issues involving all the stakeholders and I believe these decisions by the Board are based on what is best for the game. We are helping create a Premiership within which players can develop their talent through teams they can identify with as part of the fabric and history of the game in Wales.”

WRU Chairman, Gareth Davies, said: “I am delighted the Board of the WRU have taken these positive steps which further strengthen our player development pathway structure. I also want to thank the Competitions Pathway Working Group for the incredible amount of hard work they have carried out. The entire focus of this exercise has been to strengthen Welsh rugby and I can promise we will continue to seek ways to preserve our heritage while improving the rugby pathway from the very top through to the grassroots.”

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Pontarddulais Workmens seal fine victory in Snooker League

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STEVE Dunn’s fine 73 break was the undoubted highlight of Pontarddulais Workmens’ solid 6-1 victory against Burry Port Legion in the Llanelli Snooker first division.

Mike Footman, Keri Davies, Adam Griffiths and Kevin Sullivan added winning support while just Rich Nurse averted the whitewash for the Legion, for whom Rob Davies made a 32 break.

Dan Wells also made a 70-plus break, a fine 74 knock as Matchroom Reds also won 6-1, R.Evans, J.Thomas, L.Grey and C.Price also on top against Upper Tumble Blues; only E.Rees won for the visitors.

Similarly, just Nigel Lewis won as his side, Ponthenri crashed 6-1 at Gorseinon Workmens’; D.Williams (47), J.Wilcox, M.Dodd and K.Murrells added wins for the Brighton Road cuemen.

It was closer at Trimsaran, where the home side edged a 4-3 win against Llandybie Social A, courtesy of J.Tudor, C.Thomas (30) and L.Lloyd; Lindsey Pugh, Huw Morgan and Wyn Major hit back for the latter.

Andrew Hatto and Gavin Lewis were on the ball for Morfa, who went down 5-2 at Snooker World Whites; Andrew Whitfield (51 break), B.Thomas, J.Gimblett and A.Krysa added wins for the Ammanford side ,who, in a busy week, also won 4-3 at Pontyberem, thanks to A.Krysa, C.Jackson and B.Thomas; E.Bowen, S.Caton and A.Harris replied for ‘Berem.

Pontyberem also during the week were beaten 5-2 at Cross Hands B, whose frame winners were A.Phillips, Dai Isaacs, Gary Stead and Paul Martin.

Llanesco enjoyed a 5-2 victory at Llanelli Cons A, following wins from P.Shoulder, L.Lloyd, D.Bohn and M.Stevenson; Cons’ winning duo were Mark Sargent and Gavin Quinnell.

Elsewhere, C.Jones and L.Jones (31) were on top for Reading Room Blues in the Burry Port side’s 5-2 defeat at Matchroom Whites, with C.Davies, D.Roberts, L.Davies and W.Bowen on song for the “Gwyns”.

In Division 2, D.Jones, D.Sigsworth and S.Wright edged an aggregate win by just 12 points for Llandybie RFC in a 4-3 result against Upper Tumble Reds, who hit back via Mike Sainty, S.Marsall and N.Allinson.

T.Rawlings, J.Dean and C.Hurley claimed a similar 4-3 win for Burry Port Reading Room Reds against Snooker World Blues; Chris Waters, Callum Fuge and Steffan Rees were on song for the visitors.

It also needed the aggregate to split the sides as Llandybie Social B saw off Cross Hands A 4-3, Steve Pearson, Ian Matthews and Howard Wood winning; Adam Rees, Scott Bundfuss and Elwyn Williams were on the ball for the latter.

Matchroom Blacks returned from their visit to Upper Tumble Reds clutching a 5-2 success, after Rhys Morgans, Dean Shoulder, Ryan Maides and James Anthony had all won their frames; Steve Marshall and R.Williams replied for the  hosts.

Bern Price, Ray Barney, G.Stollery and K.Gronow gave the Gremlin Club A a 5-2 victory against Bryn A; J.Townsend and J.Jones replying.

In other news, there were Cup wins for Llanesco (4-1 against Cross Hands A), also Llanelli Cons A (5-2 at Matchroom Blacks), and for Llandybie Social B (5-2 over Bryn B).

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Bury Port withstand Tenby fightback

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BURY PORT had to withstand a strong second half comeback from Tenby United on Saturday (Nov 27) as they earned a 27-21 victory.

The Blacks had raced into a 27-0 at half time with tries coming from Lewis Daniel, David Booth, Bradley Crossman and Joshua Evans

Lee Evans added two conversions and a penalty as they built up a commanding lead.

In a game of two halves it was the Seasiders who started well in the second half and their play was soon rewarded.

Luke Dedman, Yannic Parker and Jack Broadhurst all scored tries for Tenby in the second half as they looked to get something from the game.

Gwion Jones converted all three tries from under the posts as the visiting Seasiders at least earned a losing bonus point for their efforts.

They were however left feeling that they could have won the game following their second half display.

They will look to put that right on Saturday, December 4, when they travel to Pontarddulais.

The win for Burry Port puts them top of the League 2 West table with 9 points from their opening two games.

On Saturday they will look for another win as they travel to Pontyberem.

PHOTO by Darren Harries

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Legg departs Llanelli Town

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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

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