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Llanelli schools benefit from Coleman led scheme

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Chris Coleman: With a young school Director of Football

Chris Coleman: With a young school Director of Football

TWO LLANELLI schools will be among the first in Wales to deliver the new Lidl Play More Football initiative, an innovate youth football programme launched this week and supported by Wales manager Chris Coleman.

Lidl Play More Football has been developed in partnership between Lidl, the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust. Bryngwyn Comprehensive School and Coedcae School are both set to take part in phase one of the nationwide programme.

The programme will develop young people to provide them with the skills to plan, organise and deliver inclusive, fun and easy-to-play football activities to engage their peers who do not currently play the game.

An increased focus will also be placed on encouraging more young girls to participate in the sport.

Lidl Play More Football is the first of its kind to be launched in Wales and will enable 30,000 young people to play football nationwide over the next three years whilst also developing the next generation of coaches and leaders.

Research suggests football is the most in-demand sport for young people in Wales, yet 37% of young people aged 7-16 years old would currently like to play but feel they do not have the opportunity.

Lidl’s investment will create 1,000 young student ‘Directors of Football’, providing them with the facilities, equipment and training to enable them to lead and run football activities in their secondary schools.

The peer-led football activities will engage 10,000 young people in secondary schools across Wales on a weekly basis. Additional weekly primary school sessions, launching in September 2016, will introduce a further 20,000 children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy the game.

Wales manager Chris Coleman, speaking from the launch event at Dragon Park, said: “Interest in the Wales national team is higher than ever thanks to our qualification for Euro 2016 so it’s fantastic that Lidl, the FA of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust have recognised the unique opportunity we have to grow football in Wales.

“I’m delighted to see schools from Llanelli signing up to be some of the first to deliver the Lidl Play More Football programme and I’m sure many others will follow their lead.

“The programme can capitalise on our nation’s excitement to engage more young people to participate in football, through both leading sessions and playing. I’m passionate about creating football opportunities for young people in Wales and so I’m delighted to give my backing to the launch of this smart new initiative.”

Jonathan Ford, CEO of the FA of Wales, added: “We are extremely excited to partner with Lidl, who are clearly committed to developing football opportunities on a local level. Currently, over 67,000 young people in Wales already participate in football, but the FA of Wales and Welsh Football Trust want to increase this figure to 200,000 by 2024.

“Through its ground-breaking delivery, the initiative will encourage participation of young people, including who do not currently play the game, and will also develop a new generation of young coaches and leaders in Wales. I’m very pleased to see schools from all over Wales, including Llanelli, taking the lead in signing up to deliver the programme.

“Tens of thousands of young people will benefit from Lidl Play More Football and we have no doubt that this programme will set the standard for youth football initiatives in Wales and beyond.”

Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK Purchasing Director said: “This is a fantastic new initiative that allows Lidl to get involved in grassroots football, giving boys and girls the opportunity to immerse themselves in the game. Through our broad network of stores across Wales, we have access to so many communities and this partnership will allow us to build on that and give something back.”

By partnering with the FA of Wales, Lidl will also provide a platform to communicate the benefits of football to more boys, girls and their families, creating lasting and positive change. Lidl is committed to supporting families in achieving a balanced lifestyle, helping children get active through football and offering fresh produce for nutritious meals to suit any budget.

For information on how to register for Lidl Play More Football please visit: www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/LidlPlayMore

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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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