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Warriors compete in inaugural w orld tournament

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Ruck Time: in action against Chivasso of Italy

Ruck Time: in action against Chivasso of Italy

THE LLANELLI Warriors Campaign to try and win the first Mixed Ability Rugby World Tournament saw them finish a disappointing 6th but they could hardly have done anymore. With further injuries ruling out both halfbacks over the weekend a rejigged squad headed to west Yorkshire.

An enjoyable opening ceremony on the Monday was followed by discussions with opponents and referees about how the games would be facilitated; a reminder of how new this concept is, even for some of the clubs involved.

The games started on Tuesday against French opponents; Pas de Calais. The Warriors started strongly and took an early lead with full back James Jeffery striking out wide. This was followed by a great try from Ben Winstanley who powered over near the posts, after a flowing move involving several players.

The French were never going to lie down, but despite a spirited fight back in which they were awarded a try by the referee despite the ball appearing to be well held up, the Warriors defence held firm to take the victory.

With a short turnaround between games, and having spent much of this time outside in the torrid weather it was no surprise that the Warriors started their next game, against Italian side Chivasso slowly. There was no doubt that they were taken by surprise with the physicality of the Italians, but after this initial shock the Warriors recovered well and Evans broke clear of the back line and stepped the full back for a fine score improved by Tony Whittaker.

With the Warriors struggling to find their rhythm and the line out suffering in the wind and rain it was difficult for them to impose themselves on the game. Whereas the French demonstrated their 7s background, the Italians, much like their national team, were strong and direct up front. They had a strong driving game that suited the conditions and eventually, again despite good defence, they scored and converted a try to level the scores.

As in the first game the Warriors temperament was suspect, running when they should have cleared their lines, and panicking instead of setting themselves. Luckily their own defence was hungry and Simon Jenkins earned man of the match through a series of big hits.

The Italians harassed and hurried them very effectively and the Warriors didn’t threaten until late in the game when they nearly got away. They surprisingly attempted a long-range penalty at the death and nearly scored in the aftermath but Chivasso held on for the draw.

When the Italians later beat Pas de Calais by 7 points the Warriors found themselves out of the top placing on try count, the controversial try awarded the French proving critical.

Playing then for places 5-8, they next faced further French opposition in the shape of Asso Christo. The French had given hosts the Bumble Bees a good game but again the Warriors looked strong and Nathan Murthy, converted from centre to scrum half got a neat try from a typical mazy run which Jenkins duly converted. Christo impressed with some strong plays and were also sharp at halfback, which led to them drawing level at the interval.

Learning from their mistakes the Warriors suppressed their instincts to run everything and were a lot more patient, with Andrew Davies supplying good line out ball they worked their way up-field and this was rewarded when Whittaker slotted a penalty that secured them a win.

Despite the magnitude of the competition 10 of the squad helped a very depleted Castleford side to fulfil their fixtures before heading for their final game of the tournament, which led to some tired legs.

Here they faced another undefeated side in The Clan who were an official Scotland XV. For the first time it was the Warriors who suffered a nightmare start as the Scottish team scored two quick tries to lead 14-0 in as many minutes. They slowly got back into the game and Dylan Harris scored a great try down the wing although this was countered by another Scottish try and when they scored again through veteran Ivor Frater they looked out of sight.

The Warriors though were finally putting some good phases together and refused to lie down with coach Gwilym Lewis finding his way through several defenders to reduce the deficit. A neat shortened line out saw Liam Tobias cross out wide but somewhat bizarrely the ref indicated time was over before Darren Pollitt slotted his conversion to leave the Warriors puzzlingly short of victory.

This meant the Warriors finished in 6th place, but ever keen to play, the Warriors organised a final friendly against Basque club, Gaztedi. Tries from Tony Whittaker, Jason Jenkins and Dai Carpenter saw them scrape home 15-12 in a very friendly affair, rounding off a good week that saw them play teams from all around Europe.

The competition on field was only part of the success. To many of the teams the concept of playing unified rugby, with disabled players as equals was new and the Warriors were often feted for their support over the years. They chaired a conference on integrated rugby and the way forward for governing body Ability Rugby International at which it was revealed that both the WEA and the official RFU guides to starting up a mixed ability side featured advice from the Warriors.

The tournament was a huge success with a unique atmosphere on the final day as the large crowd celebrated a fantastic week of rugby. The players played a major part in the success of the tournament both on and off the field and conducted themselves in a highly commendable manner that was a credit to the club and the town.

The legacy of the tournament looks set to be felt across the world and the concept of mixed ability rugby set in stone.

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Gascoigne entertains Llanelli

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OVER 400 people were at attendance in the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 18) to see former England legend Paul Gascoigne talk about his life and footballing career.

Gazza had the crowd in stitches with his stories from his past and was visibly emotional with the crowd’s warm reaction to him being there.

At one point a member of the crowd asked him if he could play one last game for one team who would it be… his answer was Swansea City to the crowds delight.

His next event will be in Tenby on September 17. The event was kindly sponsored by RDH Contractors and Sylan Lakes holiday cottages in five roads.

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Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’

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EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.

Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.

49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.

In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.

“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.

“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.

“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”

Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.

Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.

He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.

Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.

The trial is expected to last five days.

Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,

“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”

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Llanelli edged out as Ynystawe pull off mammoth chase

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A SCORE of 331-4 would normally be enough for a team to pick up victory, but South Wales Premier Division 2 leaders Ynystawe had other ideas as they pulled off a remarkable chase on Saturday (Jun 4).

Llanelli had been asked to bat first after Ynystawe had won the toss and their total was underpinned by a brilliant unbeaten century from Iwan Rees.

The opener hit sixteen fours and four sixes in his knock of 153 which came off 146 balls.

He had good support from Steven Devonald who scored 29 and Rhydian Morgan who scored 20 (2 fours, 1 six).

Rees and Rhys Harris shared the best stand of the match as they put on 157 runs for the fourth wicket.

Harris hit 12 fours in his score of 87 from 74 balls but he was out to the bowling of Rhys Palmer.

Rhys Westcott also finished unbeaten on 18 from 11 balls as Ynystawe were set 332 to win the game.

In reply, opener Nathan Lee scored 20 before falling to Jac Rees who also then took the wicket of Morgan Hodges on a score of 23.

Carl Roberts played well for his half century, hitting eight fours in his score of 56 before being trapped leg before by Aled Gilley.

Andrew Beasley was run out on a score of 15 and that left Ynystawe on 140-4.

Thomas Morgan and Luke Garthwaite shared 93 runs for the fifth wicket. Both reached their half centuries but Morgan was out to Iwan Rees on a score of 50.

Rees also bowled Ceri Durke and Rhys Palmer was run out by Rhydian Morgan having hit a four and a six in a quickfire score of 15.

That left Ynystawe 275-7 and they only had six overs left to get their target.

Garthwaite was on a score of 75 when Palmer fell and he took control as he smashed his way to a century.

He finished unbeaten on 118 from 67 balls after hitting 20 fours and two sixes. The last of his fours won the game for the home side as they ended up winning with two overs to spare.

On Saturday, June 11, Llanelli host Cowbridge while Ynynstawe travel to Penarth.

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