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THIRD STRAIGHT LOSS FOR LLANELLI

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Ben Leung: Hitting hard up the middle (Pic. Riley Sports)

Ben Leung: Hitting hard up the middle (Pic. Riley Sports)

LLANELLI fell to their third straight Principality defeat of the season, to leave themselves just three points above the bottom two (although this matters for little as there is no relegation for the 2015/16 season).

This will be a concern for Dai Flanagan as before this run they had been enjoying something of a renaissance in the league.

On the other hand, for visitors Newport, victory saw them go top momentarily, as their fine start to the season continues, and they remain firmly in the hunt to be crowned Principality Premiership champions, as a whole host of teams seek to end league giants Pontypridd’s four year dominance.

Newport’s form in recent years has been a long way short of what the Black and Ambers fans will have hoped for and expected, so to be challenging at the top end of the table is encouraging for the Gwent side. What was not quite so encouraging was the sight of Scarlets and Wales prop Rhodri Jones’ name on the team sheet as he made his return from a long period of injury. In the Newport team Haydn Palmer was a late replacement for unavailable Aled James at centre and an even later call was to see Joe Cullimore replace Rhys Jenkins at No.7 after Rhys suffered a reoccurrence of his knee injury, which tightened up during the warm up.

The game was all Llanelli for the first quarter as the hosts piled on relentless pressure and held onto possession. Newport’s defence stood firm and time after time the home team were turned back. Cullimore, Rhodri Jones and Brendon Lampitt formed a very efficient backrow for the visitors, who tackling ferociously and putting their bodies on the line. Llanelli were getting the majority of the refs decisions and always went in search of tries, constantly kicking penalties to the corner rather than go for goal. Indeed the hosts could have been six or eight points up after fifteen minutes but the score remained 0-0.

Newport eventually managed to acquire enough possession to make some concerted attacks and it was clear that in attack they had a greater cutting edge. A superb handling move consisting of multiple phases with quick recycling saw Newport deep in enemy territory and from a resulting penalty a five-metre line out was obtained. Dan Partridge secured possession but it was knocked on in the next phase ending a promising period of play. However the next attacking move saw some quick ‘tap and go’s’ before a beautiful reverse chip from Ryan James sent the ball into the try zone. Elliot Frewen chased hard and patiently waited for the ball to bounce in his favour before touching down for the first try. Arwel Robson missed the difficult conversion.

Five minutes later the lead was extended, as from a move straight off the training paddock, swift interplay led to Wes Cunliffe scoring out wide on the right. The conversion was missed but Newport were now dominant.

Wales prop Rhodri Jones limped off for the hosts after 30 minutes just as his team forced some rapid movement up the pitch. Newport infringed by putting hands into a ruck and this led to the often seen kick, lineout, catch, drive and 6 point try that is becoming increasingly common this season, with hooker Torin Myhill forcing his way over. Flyhalf Billy McBryde converted and Llanelli were up and running.

Just three minutes later this hard work was undone as Newport returned straight back to the Llanelli twenty-two, and superb interplay between forwards and backs, including a beautiful pass from Lavender, put Llywarch Ap Myrddin into space and the returning fullback danced his way through for a wonderful score. Robson banged over the conversion and the visitors were 8-20 to the good at half time.

The second half started with an aerial bombardment from both teams as play switched quickly from end to end. The pace of the game rose and the tiny crowd in attendance were witness to 40 minutes of the most frenetic rugby you are likely to see all season with full out attacks being met by heroic defence. Llywarch danced his way through midfield again and the Llanelli defence flapped and coughed the ball up. From the resulting scrum a neat move sent Haydn Palmer through for a well worked try that secured the bonus point and was also converted.

Moments later the lead was extended as Newport kicked a penalty to extend the lead and from the restart Llanelli squandered a great opportunity with an accidental offside and then within moments messed up another score when a beautiful cross kick was secured, only for the Dion Jones not to back himself for the inevitable score but choosing instead to pass inside to the supporting Matthew Owen, who duly dropped the ball over the line.

Owen did score in the dying moments – with McBryde converting – but it came too late to prevent a Newport victory.

If Llanelli are going to avoid losing four games on the bounce, then they will have to do it at the ‘House of Pain’ as Pontypridd, who themselves have lost three on the bounce, welcome them to Sardis Road.

Teams: Llanelli: 15.Dion Jones 14.Nathan Edwards 13.Steffan Hughes 12.Matthew Pearce 11.Matthew Owen 10.Billy McBryde: 9.Justin James 8.Trystan Lloyd 7.Shaun Edwards 6.Jack Jones 5.Christian Long 4.Rhydian Gierat 3.Rhodri Jones 2.Torin Myhill 1.Rhys Thomas Replacements: 16.Rhys Fawcett 17.Taylor Davies 18.Ben Leung 19.Greg George 20.Liam Puckett 21.Josh Guy 22.Gareth Walters 23.Paul Davies

Newport: Llywarch Ap Myrddin, Wes Cunliffe, Barney Nightingale, Aled James, Elliot Frewen, Arwel Robson, Ryan James, Brendan Lampitt, Rhys Jenkins, Rhodri Jones, Dan Partridge, Adam Brown, Alex Jeffries, Henry Palmer, John Lavender. Replacements: Evan Whitson, James Greenfield, Tom Piper, Bryce Morgan, Joe Culimore, Owen Davies, Julian Mogg, John Morris.

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Scarlets support new Wish Fund campaign for children and young people

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THE Scarlets are working in partnership with their local NHS Charity to support the Wish Fund, a new campaign which will create magical memories for children and young people living with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families.

The Wish Fund will raise funds for NHS Paediatric Palliative Care services in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area. The funding will enable the services to provide activities which are beyond NHS expenditure.

These include fantastic group activities and family day trips, therapeutic play toys to help young patients process what they are experiencing, and wellbeing resources for families and young siblings.

Angharad Davies, Children’s Community Lead Nurse, said: “The Wish Fund will provide us with opportunities to give that little extra to our patients and families.

“It means we can create lasting memories together which will be cherished forever. I can’t tell you how much this means to the children and young people we work with, their families and carers, and the Paediatric Palliative Care team.”

Jonathan Davies, Scarlets Rugby, said: “We are thrilled to be able to support the Wish Fund and look forward to working with Hywel Dda Health Charities to make a real difference to families across mid and west Wales.

“We hope to inspire people across the region to join with us and bring a bit of joy to their lives. We want to help them create some brilliant memories which will last forever.”

The campaign officially launched on May 20 and the charity publicised the partnership at the Scarlets Vs Stormers match on May 21 at Parc y Scarlets.

The Wish Fund campaign will see the NHS charity and the Scarlets working together on an ongoing basis to raise funds for the campaign and raise awareness about the work of the Paediatric Palliative Care team.

Pictured L-R: Jayne Thomas (Clinical Nurse Specialist, Paediatric Palliative Care), Tiara Davies (patient), Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Delton Williams (patient), Anne-Marie Llewellyn (Children’s Community Nurse)

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Rob Evans and Steff Hughes leaving Scarlets

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SCARLETS has confirmed that Rob Evans and Steff Hughes are amongst the nine players who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.

It has already been announced that Liam Williams has signed for Cardiff Rugby and Angus O’Brien is rejoining the Dragons for next season, while James Davies revealed in April that he is retiring from the game on medical grounds.

As well as Rob and Steff, the Llanelli-based side will also be saying its farewells and thanks to Tyler Morgan, Marc Jones, Tom Phillips and Tomi Lewis after Saturday’s final URC match of the season against DHL Stormers.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I’d like to thank all these players for everything they have given to the Scarlets jersey.

“Boys like Rob, Steff, Cubby and Liam have played more than a century of games for the club and they will be fondly remembered by everyone here, staff, team-mates and supporters.

“They can be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I am sure they will have great memories of representing the Scarlets over the years.

“Every season players move on and we always respect the decisions that are made. With a reduced playing budget, we have had to cut our squad for next season and that has meant we have had some difficult decisions to make.

“The players have continued to give their full commitment, as they have always done, and I’m sure our supporters will give them the reception they all deserve at our final game against the Stormers on Saturday. I wish them all well for what comes next.”

SCARLETS LEAVERS 2021-22

ROB EVANS
The Pembrokeshire loose-head came through the Scarlets Academy and after playing for Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Premiership made his senior debut against Sale Sharks in January 2013. Rob has made 156 Scarlets appearances and scored 13 tries, including one in Glasgow that secured a memorable away semi-final victory in the PRO14. Was a member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and will be remembered as a larger than life character around the squad during his 10 seasons at Parc y Scarlets. Capped 39 times for Wales,

LIAM WILLIAMS

Liam Williams is bringing to an end his second spell with the Scarlets. The 31-year-old Wales international full-back and British & Irish Lion has played 119 games for the club and has scored 34 tries, one of which set the Scarlets on their way to PRO12 glory in the final in 2017. Liam is joining Cardiff Rugby for next season.

STEFF HUGHES

Steff Hughes has made 104 appearances and scored seven tries for the Scarlets since making his debut at centre in an LV=Cup game against Saracens nine years ago. A former Wales U20s captain, the Llanelli product has skippered the Scarlets on numerous occasions, including the memorable European pool win in Bath in 2020. His two tries in a thrilling home clash against Connacht in the same season helped secure Champions Cup qualification once again.

JAMES DAVIES

James Davies has retired from rugby on medical grounds after battling concussion issues. ‘Cubby Boi’ made his Scarlets debut in 2013 and went on to make 101 appearances in a Scarlets jersey. Delivered a superb try-scoring display in the PRO12 title-winning triumph over Munster and went on to win 11 caps for Wales. Cubby also represented Wales 7s at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the 2016 Olympics.

MARC JONES

The experienced hooker joined the Scarlets from Sale in the summer of 2018 after making more than 150 appearances for the Sharks. The 35-year-old played 46 times for the Scarlets over four seasons, scoring four tries.

ANGUS O’BRIEN

Angus O’Brien made his Scarlets debut in 2018 and has made 45 appearances, scoring 112 points, including seven tries. The fly-half is returning to play for his home region, the Dragons, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

TOM PHILLIPS

A former Wales U20s Grand Slam-winning captain, Tom has played 30 matches for the Scarlets since making his senior debut in 2015. Suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the opening URC match of the season in Edinburgh.

TYLER MORGAN

The Wales international centre has been at the Scarlets for two seasons, making his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulon in 2020. The 26-year-old has made 22 appearances, scoring one try.

TOMI LEWIS

A Wales sevens international,Tomi has made two senior appearances for the Scarlets. Returned to action this season after a lengthy absence recovering from knee surgery and has been playing in the Indigo Premiership for Llandovery RFC.

Physiotherapist Carys Moggridge is also leaving the Scarlets to take up a role with the Welsh Rugby Union.

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Matchroom Whites win Worthington Cup

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MATCHROOM Whites have won the Llanelli Snooker League’s Worthington Cup team final, after a 4-1 victory in the final against Morfa Social

A highlight of the match was another fine Tyler Rees break of 89, although the maximum was on at one point.

Tyler Rees’ winning streak wasn’t over though, as he teamed up with his Matchroom teammate Chris Davies to win the final of the Doubles tournament, defeating Dean Bowen and Mark Sargent; more nice breaks in this one, Rees firing another 68, while Chris Davies added a fine 71.

Meanwhile, more success for the Matchroom came with Matchroom Blacks’ 4-1 Division 2 Olympic Cup final victory at the expense of Reading Room Reds, with Ryan Maides, Adrian Davies, Rhys Morgan and Thomas Williams winning; just Phil Payne offered any winning resistance for the Burry Port side.

Meanwhile, Ammanord Snooker World’s leftie Anthony Krysa is through to the final of this year’s Singles, after a 3-0 victory against Kev Gronow of the Gremlin Club; Krysa made some nice breaks, including a fine 75 knock.

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