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Llanelli end their season on a high

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Newport 20

Llanelli 48

Justin James: Produces a big hand off • Pic: Spencer Love Photography

Justin James: Produces a big hand off • Pic: Spencer Love Photography

LLANELLI ended their eclectic season with a fine victory away at Rodney Parade, reacting well to last week’s defeat at Neath, which was the Welsh All Black’s first of the season.

Llanelli have shown great promise at times this season, but a performance of real quality has often been followed up by some truly dire displays, but the Parc y Scarlets faithful will be hoping that this season’s experience will help the young side to produce more of their best rugby in next season’s competition.

An error-filled start from both sides meant there were few chances in the opening minutes, but this changed with nearly 10 minutes on the clock as Newport took the lead.

The hosts cleared their lines and crept up field and a penalty led them to a lineout 5 metres from the visitor’s try line. A strong rolling maul inched forward and it was Jack Goodey who benefitted, touching down behind a rumbling pack.

Llanelli settled down and almost scored in the 20th minute. Newport were penalised for being offside and the white shirted visitors went for the corner. From the lineout the ball spun across the line, and Newport’s Geraint O’Driscoll stretched out an intercepting hand but only managed to knock it on.

A big shove at the ensuing scrum pushed Llanelli off their own ball but Owen Williams’ sliced clearing kick only reached the 22-metre line. Patient phases from Llanelli saw them inch up field until outside half Billy McBryde found a small gap, but he knocked on in the process of touching down.

Newport extended their lead Matt O’Brien feinted a pass before ghosting over to make it 12-0 on 23 minutes.

Llanelli responded strongly through prop Ben Leung. They went through lots of patient phases before he crossed, but the missed tackles by Newport were to prove expensive. McBryde added the extras to make it 12-8 on 27 minutes.

When Arwel Robson was penalised for not rolling away Llanelli went for the corner again and it was their No.8, Jack Condy, who found himself at the tail of the maul to score. McBryde was unerring with the boot to make it 12-16.

The second half began with Newport back in their own half as Llanelli wing Ashley Evans virtually strolled through the Newport cover to get to the 5-metre line. Llanelli then just had to keep possession before Billy McBryde atoned for his earlier miss. He was successful with the conversion too, which made the score 12-24 on 51 minutes.

Tries in quick succession by flanker Tom Phillips and Fijian international winger Mike Tagicakibau on 68 and 72 minutes killed the game stone dead from the position of the Rodney Parade faithful, with the score now at 12-40.

Matt O’Brien added to Newport’s score on 77 minutes with a simple show of the ball opening up the gap for him to glide in under the posts. His conversion was successful and the score was 20-40.

Fittingly, Llanelli had the last word when Nathan Hart rubbed salt in the wound with his team’s sixth try of the day, converted by replacement Eoin Hughes to make it 20-48 at the final whistle.

Teams:

Newport: Arwel Robson, Jon Morris, Owen Williams, Geraint O’Driscoll, Elliot Frewen, Matt O’Brien, Owen Davies, Jack Goodey, Rhys Jenkins, Brendan Lampitt, Dan Partridge, Adam Brown, Alex Jeffries, Will Evans, Fraser Young.

Replacements: Andrew Brown, Tom Piper, Matt Prosser, Aeron Bidgood, Wes Cunliffe, Llywarch ap Myrddin.

Llanelli: 15.Dion Jones 14.Ashley Evans 13.Nathan Edwards 12.Jonny Lewis 11.Mike Tagicakibau 10.Billy McBryde 9.Josh Guy: 8.Jack Condy 7.Nathan Hart 6.Tom Phillips 5.Ben Davies 4.Lewis Rawlins 3.Ben Leung 2.Taylor Davies 1.Rhys Fawcett.

Replacements: 16.Rhys Thomas 17.Torrin Myhill 18.Tom Kaijaks 19.Chris Long 20.Greg George 21.Justin James 22.Ioan Hughes 23.Paul Davies.

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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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