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Blues keep the pressure on

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Try: Dane Pindare reaches over to score a try for Haverfordwest

Try: Dane Pindare reaches over to score a try for Haverfordwest

HAVERFORDWEST kept the pressure on the top two as they comfortably beat St Davids by 44 points to 3 at a wet and windy Merlins Bridge on Saturday.

Despite having only won twice this season, the visitors started well and after a good scrummage by the St Davids pack, they were awarded a penalty with five minutes gone.

With wind and swirling rain it seemed like the only option would be to kick to touch but Saints’ Jack Jones kicked the ball through the posts with ease from what looked like a difficult position.

That only served to wake the Blues up and five minutes later they scored the game’s opening try as Craig Barnett broke free down the left hand side. Mikey Jones added the extras to make it 7-3 to the home side.

The Blues continued to push forward and in the twentieth minute they had their second try as Dane Pindare cut inside the defenders before going through to score but the conversion attempt was missed.

It wasn’t long before the home side had their third try as a good passing move, again down the left, was finished off by Craig Barnett for his second try.

In the second half, Haverfordwest continued where they had left off and after stealing the ball from a St Davids lineout they pushed towards the line.

Good defending saw them come just short but after recycling the ball well, it came to Dane Pindare who dived over in the corner to make it 22-3 to Haverfordwest.

Both sides were then reduced to 14 men in the space of five minutes and soon after St Davids’ Jack Jones was sent to the sin bin, Haverfordwest increased their lead.

The Blues won a lineout and after St Davids were penalised for a man offside, they kicked the touch. The resulting play saw Captain Jon Mason power his way over to make the score 27-3.

Haverfordwest then scored two tries in the space of two minutes as they began to dominate the game.

Firstly, Hooker Ashley George powered his way over the line before the conversion from Darren Salmon, who had taken over kicking duties, was missed.

Replacement Zac France-Millar scored two minutes later to increase the score to 37-3. The extra points were this time successfully added by Darren Salmon.

France-Millar was tormenting the Saints defence and he kicked towards the line with three minutes to go but the Saints defender did well to get the ball ahead of him. With the clock ticking over to 80 minutes, Haverfordwest scored their eighth try of the match as France- Millar did get his second try of the match.

The conversion was missed to leave the final score at 44-3 to the home side.

The Saints battled well throughout the game but did not have enough to stop the power of Haverfordwest.

The bonus point win moves them to within a point of the top two and they face a trip to Pembroke in their next game on Saturday, December 5.

The same day sees the Saints take on bottom club Llangwm.

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Davies to captain Scarlets for 2021/22 season

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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

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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

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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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