THE WRU has appointed Ryan Jones, the former Wales captain and British and Irish Lion, as Head of Rugby Participation.
Jones, who has 75 caps, will join the WRU Executive Board with a remit to get more people across Wales engaged more often with rugby at all levels and in all its forms. In doing so he will represent more than 300 clubs across Wales and provide them with a voice at rugby’s top table.
Martyn Phillips, Chief Executive, WRU said: “Whilst Ryan’s credentials as a player and captain of Wales are obvious, of more importance to me is his reputation as a role model for players, his desire to put something back into a game that has served him so well and to put his obvious energy into being the figurehead for the community game in Wales. He impressed us with his desire to be very visible in the role, to roll up his sleeves and to take accountability for growing participation across men’s, women’s and kids’ rugby via existing and new forms of the game. We are a rugby organisation and along with Geraint John, we have two individuals who are steeped in the tradition of the game in Wales and importantly open to modernisation for a healthy future.” Jones is one of an elite band of players to have won three Grand Slams with Wales (2005, 2008 and 2012) and he also played an integral role in his country’s retention of the RBS 6 Nations title in 2013.
Jones also captained the Ospreys from 2007 to 2010 and counts four Guinness Pro12 titles amongst his achievements.
Of his new position Jones said: “We are a passionate rugby nation and I am a product of that. My goal is to make the game that so many of us love and care about accessible to more people, more often with more fun. Rugby has helped shape me into the person I am today and I believe I have a duty to put something back. I’m excited to get started.
“The impact rugby can have on a community and the wonderful values and opportunities it can offer individuals of all ages from personal development to fitness and friendship is something to celebrate. I want to combine my passion with the existing great work being done by the team at the WRU to open up those opportunities to more people. I really believe that whatever your age there’s an aspect of the game you can be a part of – be it as a player, a coach, a referee, supporter or volunteer. The modern game is evolving. The increasing popularity of the women’s game, sevens and tag and touch makes it an exciting time to be involved in the sport.
“I will champion at board level the needs, concerns and direction of the community game in Wales. I want to remain both visible and accessible and I would encourage those with a modern perspective on the game and a desire to innovate to get in touch and share their ideas.”
Jones’ formative years were spent playing rugby at Risca, Newport, University of Wales Institute Cardiff and Bridgend. Despite retiring from the professional game in 2015 Jones continues to play an active role in rugby at a community level as a coach at Mumbles RFC. He is also a Director and Trustee for Disability Sport Wales.
Jones will join newly appointed Geraint John, Head of Rugby Performance, on the WRU Executive Board. By splitting the former head of rugby role into two new roles the WRU aims to give greater focus and representation to both participation and, at the later stages, performance aspects of the game.
Gascoigne entertains Llanelli
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.
Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’
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.”
Llanelli edged out as Ynystawe pull off mammoth chase
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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