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.
Trimsaran secure top spot
TRIMSARAN secured top spot in WRU Bowl Group G2 as they beat Furnace United 18-15 on Saturday (Oct 9).
A big crowd showed up at Caeffair for the top of the pool clash between the two sides and they were not disappointed.
Furnace kicked the game off and from the start it was the cherries who were in the ascendancy and were rewarded with an early shot at goal to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
Furnace were forcing Trim into mistakes and taking advantage of their ill-discipline. They were rewarded with another shot at goal which was missed. It was turning out to be a typical local derby game with both teams cancelling each other out for much of the first half.
The Trimsaran pack started to outmuscle the visiting pack at the set piece as the game approached the last 10 minutes of the first half and they were awarded a kickable penalty which outside half Corey Phillips converted to draw Trim level.
With half time approaching Trimsaran number 8 burst through the Furnace defence after some sustained pressure in Furnace territory and found second row Lee Thomas outside him who touched down with a superb long arm stretch to score the games’ first try. With the conversion missed it was 8-3 to the home team at half time.
Trimsaran kicked off a dramatic second half. Seven minutes into the second half Furnace were applying some pressure in the Trimsaran 22 when suddenly the referee in charge blew his whistle and halted play.
To the surprise of everyone in attendance he red carded Trimsaran second row and tryscorer Lee Thomas. This handed Furnace a numerical advantage early in the second half but some brilliant defence from Trim kept the cherries at bay.
10 minutes later Furnace finally had their first try of the game to even up the scoreboard at 8-8.
It only took a further 5 minutes for Furnace to retake the lead after a great finish from their Full back Myles Harries after a break down the right wing by Furnace before spreading the ball in the field of Play for Myles to touchdown.
With a man advantage it seemed Furnace were going to make it count. 5 minutes later Furnace were shown a yellow card after a dump tackle. This evened the game up and with the penalty Trim kicked to the touchline and drove their way over from a maul with prop Iwan Green emerging the try scorer. The conversion was successful and once again we were all level at 15-15.
With 12 minutes to go both teams would have fancied their chances at getting within range and securing a win.
Trim kept their tails up and with some good play and a great break they got themselves up to kicking range. Furnace give the penalty away for offside and outside half Corey Phillips kept his nerve to give Trim the lead 18-15 with 5 minutes to go.
Trim were looking to control the final stages of the game and see it out but got penalised just inside their half and Furnace attempted a penalty which fell just short to equalise the game.
With 3 minutes left there was a scuffle near the halfway line and the referee again brought his red card out and give it to Trimsaran number 8 Steff Roberts in which seemed to be a case of mistaken identity as he was accused of striking an opponent but it didn’t appear to be him.
This gave Furnace one last chance to steal the victory from Trim. Some brave defence from the lineout from the home team looked to have turned the ball over but another pen was awarded to Furnace who kicked their way into the 22 and with a 2 man advantage fancied their chances to snatch victory. Trim competed well in the lineout though and forced a knock on from the cherries and with it a loud roar of delight from the vocal home support.
A fantastic Derby game played out by both teams which sees Trim secure top spot in group G2 with one game to spare.
That game takes place this weekend when Trimsaran welcome New Dock Stars to Caeffair on Saturday (Oct 16).
Burry Port Reserves hold off Seaside
BURRY PORT Reserves closed the gap to second placed Seaside Reserves on Saturday (Oct 9) as they beat them 2-1.
The home side took the lead early on when Dean Thomas scored a penalty after 12 minutes.
Seaside hit back though and were level on 39 minutes when Nathan Lewis found the back of the net.
It remained 1-1 at half time but 13 minutes into the second half, Burry Port regained the lead.
Ioan Williams, who had only come on to the pitch a minute earlier, scored the goal which would ultimately prove to be the winner.
It earned Burry Port a third straight win in Carmarthenshire AFL Reserve Division 1 and they now sit three points behind Seaside.
Other results in the Division on Saturday saw leaders Loughor Reserves thrash Drefach reserves 7-1 while Gorseinon Athletic Reserves beat Trallwm Reserves 4-1.
Pontlliw Reserves were also 4-0 winners away at Killay Reserves.
On Saturday, October 16, Burry Port will look for another win as they take on Gorseinon while second plays first as Seaside host Loughor.
PHOTO BY DARREN HARRIES
Kidwelly edge past Burry Port
KIDWELLY beat Burry Port by just two points on Saturday (Oct 9) as they took ownership of the Lewi Jones Cup.
The Cup is played for in memory of Lewi Jones and is up for grabs when the holder meets another competing club.
A big crowd gathered for the game in Burry Port and they witnessed two good sides give their all for the win.
It was Kidwelly though who eventually came out on top winning by 11 points to 9.
Captain James Owens scored two penalties for Kidwelly while the crucial try was scored in the corner by Luke Thomas.
The Blacks scored three penalties but will take a losing bonus point for their efforts.
As well as winning the Lewi Jones cup for the first time, Kidwelly also move to within two points of the Blacks in WRU Plate Group G1.
On Saturday, October 16, Kidwelly are in action again as they host Llanelli Wanderers.
Burry Port are next in action the following weekend (Oct 23) when they travel to Felinfoel.
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