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Raiders RL 35 20 Nottingham Outlaws

raiders12SECOND placed Nottingham Outlaws made their longest journey of the season on Saturday with a four-hour coach trip down to west Wales to face an in-form Raiders RL side at Llanelli. In a hard fought game the Outlaws matched their Welsh counterparts for most of the game but a crucial ten minute spell just before half time that saw the Outlaws concede three converted trys proved to be the difference as they succumbed to 35-20 defeat.

The Outlaws went into the match with a squad containing no fewer than nine changes to the side that racked up a record score against Oxford the previous week. The major re-shuffle saw first team debuts for Matt Nixon and Dan Wilson who took up two of the interchange spots whilst Adam Cunliffe moved up to scrum half to partner the returning Alex Whittle.

Despite the changes it didn’t take long for the Outlaw’s to put themselves on the scoreboard with Jon Christie scoring in the corner, the try went unconverted.

It took a further 15 minutes before Raiders captain and stalwart Alan Pope forced himself over the line and Shane Edwards notched the conversion.

Nottingham again found gaps in the Raiders defence and with a well worked move saw Alex Whittle score to the right hand of the posts, Adam Cunliffe converting. The Raiders found themselves with an overlap immediately after kick off as pivot Shane Lee and second row Morgan Jeffereries created a gap for debutant winger Curtis Ford to outstrip his winger, flat foot the full back and score in the corner, Nathan Beck converted from far out.

It seemed again almost immediately from the kick off the Raiders hit the Nottingham right hand flank and centre Dan Fox got over the line for a much needed try, Nathan Beck converted again.

Nottingham stepped up a gear and proved hard to break through with them being very technical in the tackle area slowing the Raiders quick ball option right down, however on 35 minutes winger Curtis Ford side stepped the Nottingham centre, sent the full back the wrong way and scored another try under the posts.

Nottingham did push hard and nearly scored under the posts but the Raiders defence held out and the ref blew for a much-needed half time break.

In the second half the Raiders came out with renewed vigour, a clever move culminated in the Raiders full back Nath Beck finding a gap and Curtis

Ford following up and scoring his hat trick in the corner.

With the score at 28-10 it seemed that the Raiders were in the ascendency however a try on 50 minutes by Nottingham’s Jimmy Goodwin put Raiders on the back foot, the try was unconverted. Nottingham built pressure and again broke through a lacklustre Raiders defence with Adam Cunliffe converting his own try.

It needed something special for the Raiders to pull clear of the Outlaws and that came in the form of debutant winger Curtis Ford scoring his 4th try of the day in spectacular fashion and converting his own try.

The game was put to bed when pivot Shane Lee dropped a goal on the 77th minute mark allowing the Raiders to hold out against a determined Nottingham outfit until the final whistle.

Despite victory Raiders coach Jon Ellis was not pleased with some aspects and commented: “We made really hard work of this game, Rugby League is a game of 80 minutes of none stop graft, we played some dumb rugby and gave Nottingham too much respect, although we got the win and the game was great for the spectators we need to be more technical and ruthless in all areas of the game.

“We did however find some gems of players today and we are looking forward to playing Leicester away next week.”

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Davies to captain Scarlets for 2021/22 season



WALES international and British & Irish Lion Jonathan ‘Fox’ Davies will captain the Scarlets for the 2021-22 season.

Former Ysgol Dyffryn Taf pupil Davies has played 170 matches for the Scarlets since making his debut in 2006 and is one of the most decorated centres in international rugby having won 91 caps for Wales and represented the Lions in the Test series in Australia 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

It will be his second stint wearing the Scarlets armband having been a co-captain along with Rob McCusker in 2013.

‘Foxy’ takes the reins from hooker Ken Owens who led the Scarlets for a record-equalling seven successive seasons.

“Jon is one of the most respected players in the game, someone with a huge amount of experience at all levels,” said Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel

“He has been a leader amongst our group for a number of years now and certainly since I have been here his leadership qualities have been there for all to see, on and off the training field.

“Foxy is the ultimate professional – when he speaks people listen. The way he conducts himself is an example to every player in the squad.

“He has been a big part of this club for a long time; he has grown up in the region, played his junior rugby here and it is clear that wearing the Scarlets jersey means a huge amount to him.”

Paying tribute to Davies’s predecessor Owens, Peel added: “Ken has been a fantastic leader for us over the last seven years and will continue to have a huge part to play in the leadership of this group.”

Davies, who captained Wales during the recent summer internationals in Cardiff, said: “It is a massive honour to be handed the Scarlets captaincy, you only have to look at the captain’s board to see so many great players and icons of the game who have led the club.

“I am fortunate that there will be a strong leadership group around me – British & Irish Lions and experienced Wales internationals who have enjoyed success at domestic and Test level. Those players also know there is a hard-working, driven group of youngsters pushing them for the jersey. There is a really exciting mix to the squad.”

Davies added: “Winning the PRO12 title with the Scarlets four years ago remains one of the highlights of my career and there is a real ambition and hunger among the players and coaching group to reach those levels again.

“There has been a good buzz about pre-season, the boys have worked really hard and we’re all looking forward to the start of the new URC season in Edinburgh on Saturday.

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Scarlets appoint Phil John as Academy coach



FORMER prop Phil John is back at the Scarlets having been appointed to the role of Academy skills coach.

John made 330 Scarlets appearances over 17 seasons and holds the record for the most Scarlets matches played in the regional era.

Since hanging up his playing boots following his final game against Glasgow in 2016, he has worked with the RGC 1404 Academy and alongside another ex-Scarlet Mark Jones with the Premiership team in North Wales.

He also has experience coaching with the Llanelli RFC Premiership side and as an assistant to Danny Wilson for the Scarlets.

John, who started out on a rugby apprenticeship scheme at Stradey Park, replaces Emyr Phillips who becomes the Scarlets transition coach overseeing the academy players who are training with the senior side.

“It’s good to be back at Parc y Scarlets and I’m looking forward to working with a talented group of young players who have bright futures in the game,” said John.

“When you look at the players who were in the Academy five years ago when I was here, they are now starting week in week out for the Scarlets, it is great to see the journeys they have been on.

“The Scarlets Academy has a proud tradition of being a production line for the senior side and I’m excited by this opportunity to help make sure that continues.”

Scarlets Development Pathway Manager Kevin George added: “For us, this appointment was about getting the balance right in the coaching group with Emyr having been promoted to oversee the transition players.

“We had a lot of interest in the post and Phil, with his experience working with academies and the commitment he gave to North Wales, came out very strongly. We are delighted to have him on board to help nurture the next generation of Scarlets.”

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Five-star Felinfoel sink Tumble



FELINFOEL kept up their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday (Sept 18) as they beat Tumble 5-2 at the King George playing fields in Division 1 of the Carmarthenshire football league.

However, they didn’t have it all their own way as Tumble took the lead after five minutes through Matthew James.

Foel kept plugging away and were rewarded when Chris James hit a 25-yard shot that was fumbled over the line by the keeper to make it 1-1.

Some good passing football then put Sam Ashford through on goal to put the ball past the keeper and make it 2-1 to the home side.

They weren’t done there as Chris James made it 3-1 with a great header.

In the second half, both sides were looking to score again but it was Foel who got their fourth when Mathew Ellis supplied top goal scorer Jordan Badman with the pass to make it 4-1.

Five minutes later the roles were reversed when Badman played in Mathew Ellis to make it 5-1.

To Tumble’s credit they kept plugging away and were rewarded with a goal two minutes from time as James scored his second of the game.

It was a great strike from James but it mattered little as Foel came away with the 5-2 win and their unbeaten record still intact.

On Saturday (Sept 25), Felinfoel are at hoem again as they host Bancffosfelen, kick off at 2pm.

Tumble are also in action as they travel to Llangennech.

Photo by Darren Harries

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