Thursday, 19 December 2013

Torfaen Tigers to enter the Challenge Cup

South Wales Rugby League Conference champions Torfaen Tigers will make their Tetley's Challenge Cup debut in 2014 following their Grand Final win this summer.

They will be Wales' only entrants in the first round of the historic competition and are one of just 44 community clubs that have been invited to participate.

Those 44 sides will form the first two rounds, which will be played on February 1 and February 22 respectively. The remaining winning teams will then face semi-professional opposition, such as South Wales Scorpions and North Wales Crusaders, in the third round (to be played on the weekend of March 15/16) before the Super League clubs – including holders Wigan Warriors – enter the fray in the fourth (April 5/6).

Torfaen Tigers chairman Rob Davies said: "After the disappointment of not being allowed into the Harry Jepson Trophy last season after winning the South Wales title, the whole club is itching to get started in 2014.

"Last year was massive for us and hopefully this year we can continue to build. The Challenge Cup is one of the great British sporting competitions and being an entrant will hopefully allow us to increase our profile with spectators and sponsors as well as the wider community in both Torfaen and the wider South Wales region."

Tigers' co-coaches Jamie Williams and Chris Bailey are equally as delighted to be entering rugby's oldest club knockout competition.

Williams said: "This is a massive opportunity for all the boys to put themselves in the shop window and hopefully attract new faces. It'll be a big boost to the club."

Bailey added: "We're all looking forward to being involved in such a high profile competition and I know that the players can't wait to get going. We're proud to be on the road to Wembley."
  
Teams from the length and breadth of Britain will be in the first round draw, which is due to take place in the week commencing January 6, with 550 miles separating the competition’s most northerly and southerly sides, the largest geographical spread of competing teams from across Britain in the competition’s history.

The third tier of the Rugby League pyramid has the most participants, with 31 sides representing the National Conference League and the Bristol Sonics representing the Conference League South.

Scottish champions Aberdeen Warriors also prepare for their tournament debut whilst student Rugby League giants Leeds Metropolitan University and Loughborough University represent the education sector.

All three Armed Forces teams are represented – the Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy – whilst Great Britain Police also enter, hoping to build on their positive performances during this summer’s Police Rugby League World Cup.

From the game’s fourth tier, Cumbria Men’s League champions Walney Central are entered whilst, at the other end of the country, Harry Jepson Trophy Winners, South West London Chargers, are looking forward to their participation.

The North West Men’s League champions Halton Simms Cross and the North West Men’s League’s Widnes St Marie’s complete the list.

Full list of participating community clubs:

Askam

Blackbrook

East Hull

Dewsbury Celtic

East Leeds

Egremont Rangers

Elland

Hull Dockers

Hunslet Warriors

Kells

Leigh Miners Rangers

Lock Lane

Milford Marlins

Millom

Myton Warriors

Normanton Knights

Oulton Raiders

Pilkington Recs

Rochdale Mayfield

Saddleworth Rangers

Shaw Cross Sharks

Siddal

Skirlaugh

Thatto Heath Crusaders

Underbank Rangers

Wath Brow Hornets

West Hull

Wigan St Jude’s

Wigan St Patrick’s

Woolston Rovers

York Acorn

Bristol Sonics

British Army

Royal Navy

Royal Air Force

Leeds Metropolitan University

Loughborough University

Aberdeen Warriors

Great Britain Police

Torfaen Tigers

Halton Simms Cross

South West London Chargers

Walney Central

Widnes St Marie’s

Fans can buy tickets for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final now. The 2014 showpiece event, which will be the 113th staging of the final, will return to London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 and fans can book their place at Wembley from as little as £22.

Tickets for the 2014 Tetley's Challenge Cup final can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.

Principality Premiership Weekend Predictions and Festive Musings

As Noddy Holder put it, ’IT’S CHRISTMASSSSS!’, and after the break for British and Irish Cup action, we return to a full program of the Principality Premiership with all 12 teams in action.
As we reach the half-way point of the season, I thought I would take a look back at some of the events and stories that have led us to this point so far, and unfortunately that also means paying our respects to Pontypridd prop Stuart Williams, who suddenly passed away in October this year.
If last season was a one horse race with the Valley Commandos running away with things, this term has been a much more balanced affair, although divisions have formed in the league with teams fractured into title contenders and those sides who are very much in the fight for survival. Unlike last year, no team remains unbeaten heading into Christmas while Neath have the very unflattering label of being the only side without a win to their name.
It has definitely been a season of chopping and changing in the Premiership and, with the very real danger of relegation, clubs have been a little less lenient on the men at the helm with several falling foul of management.
Neath are the most recent team to implement a change with Patrick Horgan being drafted back in to sort out the Welsh All Blacks on-field problems, while Llลทr Lane and Robin Sowden-Taylor were informed their services were no longer required at the Gnoll. Newport’s backs coach Jon Bryant took the fall for the Gwent side's impotent form behind the scrum, while remaining coaches Sven Cronk and Dai Gray got the dreaded vote of confidence from the Newport Chairman Will Godfrey.
Earlier in the season, Pontypridd received the news that was always going to happen to such a talented coach - Dale McIntosh moved on to the Blues Regional set-up, with Geraint Lewis moving from Championship highfliers Ebbw Vale to the Valley Commandos.
Elsewhere, Simon King’s tenure at the Talbot Athletic Ground came to an end and ex-Wizard Jason Hyatt was the man chosen to get the Port Talbot side moving in the right direction again.
Finally, up until now I have failed to comment on the battle royale currently taking place between the WRU and the Welsh Regions as, to be honest, between all the politicking it is rather hard to distinguish fact from fiction. However, I do feel quite strongly about the fact that, for a number of seasons, the WRU has held the utmost disregard and contempt for the regions as commercial commodities and really only care about the success of the national side.
As Graham Henry so aptly put it, ‘Wales is the biggest club side in the world.’ I for one, however, will be taking up a New Year’s resolution of getting out and supporting regional and club rugby, and I hope that when all is said and done the winner will be the future of our national sport in Wales! #uniteandfight

Bedwas v Newport
This Dragons regional showdown is the second between the sides in a matter of weeks. The Wass won the initial encounter and giving Newport’s performance against Cardiff last week I feel there will be little festive cheer for the Black and Amber supporters on Saturday.
Verdict- Bedwas by 10 points
Carmarthen Quins v Cardiff
Undoubtedly the clash of the day! The Quins will be hopeful of completing the double over Martyn Fowler’s troops after dispatching the Blue and Blacks 22-7 at the Arms Park, and I think the West Walians will once again come out on top.
Verdict- Quins by 7 points
 Cross Keys v Aberavon
Neither of these sides managed to pick up wins in the British and Irish Cup over the past couple of weekends; though the Keys will have a lot of positives to take out of their clashes with Leinster A, the Wizards on the other hand will have to do a lot of soul searching after they were walloped and conceded 150 unanswered points. Hopefully, from Aberavon’s point of view, they can put the hidings behind them but Pandy Park is just behind Sardis Road as difficult places to go in the Premiership and I really can’t see the visitors picking up any points from this clash.
Verdict- Cross Keys by 20 points
 Llanelli v Llandovery
This Scarlets regional clash should be a tasty encounter; the last time the sides met, it was the Drovers that put their counterparts to the sword with a 41-3 thrashing. I have a hard time believing that there will be such a margin of victory tomorrow. However, I think this is a difficult one to predict: weather conditions aren’t meant to be great on Saturday so it may come down to who can play the territory and possession game, and I think Llandovery will just sneak it.
Verdict- Llandovery 3 points
Neath v Bridgend
Will Neath get their maiden win of the season at their tenth attempt? The return of Patrick Horgan will be a boost to the players while Bridgend may be slightly rusty from a four week break from competitive rugby. This match has some huge consequences at the bottom: if Neath win, it draws everyone at the basement a lot closer; if the Ravens get the victory, it gives them a bit more room to work with.
Verdict- Neath by 3 points
 Pontypridd v Swansea
Although Ponty are in the midst of an injury crisis, I really cannot visualise Swansea (who have won just once this season) getting anything out of their trip to Sardis Road.
Verdict- Pontypridd by 12 points

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Rees takes captaincy role

Former Welsh Amateur champion Chris Rees, who played international golf alongside European Tour winners Phil Price, Stephen Dodd, Bradley Dredge and Jamie Donaldson, is the new captain of the Wales Men's team.

Rees takes on the new role after eight years as a selector and is hoping to use some of his own playing experiences, having come up through the ranks of Welsh golf, to help develop the stars of the future.

Chris King is the new captain of the Wales Boys team, succeeding Leighton Smith, while Rees takes over from Carl Rowe, following the Golf Union of Wales selection process.

Both Carl and Leighton have made a huge contribution and we are grateful for their efforts over the last four years, but we are also looking forward to the input from Chris and Chris,” explained Golf Union of Wales director of performance Ben Waterhouse.

Rees won the Welsh Boys title in 1982 and then added the Welsh Amateur crown in 1986, representing Wales in the Home Internationals for 13 years, as well as in the European championships and Eisenhower Trophy at world level.

I am looking forward to being involved having been a selector and player for such a long time, it is a passion for me to give something back, to captain your country is the biggest honour,” said the 48-year-old, who works as a project manager re-fitting oil rigs based in Aberdeen.

I came through the ranks with players such as Phil Price and Stephen Dodd, while Bradley Dredge came into the team then and Jamie Donaldson started playing for Wales in the last couple of years before I finished.

It definitely helps to have seen them play and – perhaps more importantly for the young players to learn from – to have seen them practice.

It was good to see how they used to prepare for events and of course to see how well they have done. They are the examples that the young players coming through the system now would love to emulate.

The system is very different to the one I came through. I got into the Wales team at the age of 20 and I was the youngest player then, now 20 would be one of the older ones.

There is still the same pride in pulling on the Welsh jersey, but the system was much more amateur then - more social.

The structures that have been put in place by the Golf Union of Wales over the last five or six years are beginning to pay off now.

It is much more professionally run and the guys coming through now have been involved in that junior set up over that time.

We have been looking hard at the discipline so they have got to toe the line if they want to play for Wales, living up to the ethos set by coach Neil Matthews and the selectors.

I have known Neil since he was a young player coming up through the ranks and it has been great to see his development into a top coach, I have come across most of the people involved through my own playing career.

Carl was a fantastic captain before me so there is plenty to build on. We will also be working closely as a Union to try and follow the example of the Wales Ladies team and their success.”
The Wales Ladies who have won the Home Internationals three times in the last six years.

King is also keen to build on such successes in helping the Wales Boys to achieve more.

My son Daniel has just finished at Boys level, he won the South Wales Boys title last year, so I can step back into that level without bias but knowing it very well,” explained former Gwent captain King.

There are a lot of good young players coming through in Wales. We had a lot of success when I was captain of Gwent, so that is something that we would like to repeat with the Wales team.”

Monday, 9 December 2013

Swalec Lower League Round Up

Rhiwbina capitalised on Llantrisant’s 14-14 draw at Llantwit Fardre to leap to the summit thanks to a 34-9 home win over Dowlais.
The Squirrels touched down five times to secure a bonus point while Dowlais had to settle for just three penalties from Lloyd Hynes. No 8 David Smith was at the double for the hosts with a brace while Chris Fido, Richard Myers and Nick Howell also went over.
Meanwhile, Abertillery BG heaped more woe on strugglers Tredegar with an 11 try, 67-5 win. Aled Penn and Kurtis Haile both clinched hat-tricks while Jack Goodey, Nicky Thomas and Liam Grandon were also amongst the scorers.
Amman United’s title hopes took a knock as they slipped to a fifth defeat of the season, going down to Maesteg 21-12 at the Old Parish.
The Llynfi Valley side crossed twice through Keiron John and Sam Griffiths, while Corey Butler added eleven points from the tee.
At the other end of the table, Seven Sisters bagged only their third success of the season as they edged past Dunvant 21-20.
Seven Sisters outscored their rivals two tries to one with touchdowns from Kyle Davies and Alun Jones.
Wattstown returned to winning ways in Three South East as they comfortably saw off Tylorstown 36-6.
In Three West, Gorseinon maintained their title push with a 21-11 home win over Llandeilo, Josh Simmonds crossing twice for the Swansea side.
Finally, Aberbargoed were the big winners of the day as they racked up a century of points in their 15 try, 101-0 demolition of Blaengarw in Six South Central.

Swalec Division One East and West Round Up

There were wins for the top three sides in One East as the title race continues to hot up, with leaders Merthyr and highfliers Heol-y-Cyw and Ystrad Rhondda all winning.
Merthyr showed their mettle as the Ironmen trounced Nelson 57-10 at the Wern to head the table by three points.
Lee Jarvis’ troops helped themselves to nine tries, with Sam Edwards and Ollie Smyth both bagging braces for the hosts, while Josh Flye, Ewan Williams, Martin Luckwell, Osian Davies and Owen Morgan also touched down. Steve Lang added the extras to six.
Meanwhile, the Cockerels were 28-8 home winners over Rhydyfelin. Chris Howe led the way for the hosts with a brace of tries while Matthew Pound also went over.
However, Ystrad Rhondda left it late to see off Ynysybwl at the Gelligaled, with an injury time Liam Davies touchdown bagging them a 26-24 win.
In One West, Glynneath maintained their imperious form as dispatched last season’s runners up Cwmllynfell 20-6.
There was nothing to choose between the sides at the break with the scores tied 6-6, two Jack O’Reilly penalties having been cancelled out by two Peter Thomas strikes for Cwmllynfell.
The unbeaten leaders came out firing after the interval with wing Jordan Griffiths bagging a brace and centre O’Reilly adding the extras to both.
Meanwhile, Kidwelly clinched the slenderest of victories as they picked up an 18-17 win at Kenfig Hill.
Eight points from the boot of Stuart Morris and tries from Rhodri Davies and Richard Pearce ensured it was the Black and Ambers who took home the spoils.
Elsewhere, Waunarlwydd got their season back on track after losing in their last two outings with a thrilling 31-26 victory at Ammanford.
The Green and Blacks crossed five times through Andrew Rees-Spowart (2), Alan Pope, David Joseph and Luke Dickinson, while Lee Evans converted three of them.

Swalec Championship Weekend Round Up

North Wales region RGC 1404 were the big winners in the Swalec Championship as they romped to a ten try, 64-7 victory over Llanharan at Parc Eirias.
Chris Horsman’s troops totally outclassed their visitors with tries from Lewis Barker (2), Andy Williams, Josh Leach, Tom Blackwelll, Kelvin Davies, Liam Leung, Harri Evans, Tom Hughes and Huw Grind.
Meanwhile, runaway leaders Ebbw Vale extended their unbeaten run to eleven matches, as they opened up a 14 point lead at the summit thanks to a thrilling 43-24 home win over Bridgend Athletic.
The league’s leading try scorer Ronny Kynes was once again amongst the tries as the Steelmen touched down seven times in all, with Wes Cunliffe (2), Ashley Sweet, Daniel James, Carl Meyer and Damien Hudd also crossing the whitewash.
Narberth remain second after they dispatched visitors Beddau 33-3, with Ianto Griffiths stealing the show for the Otters as the fly half bagged 23 of his side's points.
Elsewhere, Pontypool returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they dispatched Tondu 40-10 at Pontypool Park.
Pooler led narrowly 13-10 at the interval but a powerful second half showing from the hosts saw them ease to victory, with captain Luke Dyckhoff grabbing a brace while Sam Mills added 20 points from the tee.
Bargoed ran in five tries as they saw off basement boys Bonymaen 39-12, while fellow strugglers Blackwood could only pick up a losing bonus point as they went down at home to Newbridge 18-11.
Finally, Cardiff Met ran out 25-14 winners over Tata Steel at Cyncoed.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Wales Rugby League to take over the running of South Wales Scorpions

Wales Rugby League, the sport’s National Governing Body, have agreed to take over the running of South Wales Scorpions for the 2014 season after their founder and inaugural chairman Phil Davies decided to step down.

Davies founded the club in late 2009 following the old Celtic Crusaders’ decision to move north and has been at the helm of the only professional rugby league club in South Wales for four seasons in Championship One. Davies is unfortunately unable to continue with the running of the club due to work and personal commitments however will remain supportive of the sport in Wales for which he has a great passion.

Chris Thair, Chief Operating Officer of Wales Rugby League, said: “We have known for some time of Phil’s wish to step down and following Friday’s WRL Board meeting it was unanimously agreed that the NGB would run the club in 2014. The RFL have been notified of our intentions and whilst we recognise there are still a number of formalities to go through before we are officially running a club in Championship One, with the season beginning in March it is in everyone’s interest that this happens.

“The WRL Board wish to thank Phil Davies for his time, energy and investment into the sport in Wales and he leaves a legacy of having given many young welsh players their first opportunity as a semi-professional rugby league player.

“During his tenure in charge many players who played for the Scorpions have progressed onto getting fulltime contracts at other clubs such as Rhodri Lloyd and Gil Dudson at Wigan Warriors and Lloyd White at Widnes Vikings.

“Wales Rugby League now wish to continue with this legacy of providing opportunities for young Welsh players and this certainly has a good strategic fit to our new performance plans. We now wish to engage with as many people as possible who can support this new venture and should anyone feel they have something to offer then we would be delighted to hear from them.”

Outgoing owner Phil Davies said: “It’s been an exciting and enjoyable four years at the helm with South Wales Scorpions, but due to my increasing work and personal commitments, I’m unable to commit to the amount of time required to run the club.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the Scorpions for the hard work they’ve put in during that time including Rob Buckley our financial director, Ian Golden who has run the office and done all the media over the last four years, plus of course Andy Birchall, Gareth Laugharne and everyone else involved in the Scorpions Supporters Club. I’d also like to remember our late director John Brennan who helped me form the club and was instrumental in its running over the first three years.

“It’s been exciting seeing Scorpions players develop and go on to play Super League and in the World Cup. In this year’s Wales squad we had seven former Scorpions players and that’s something to be proud of. Thank you to all the players who have turned out for us over the last four years and of course to all the fans and sponsors for all of their support.

“In addition I’d like to thank Chris Thair, Brian Juliff and everyone at Wales Rugby League for agreeing to take on South Wales Scorpions. It makes a lot of sense to have it run by the governing body as it will link into their Academies that are already doing so well. I’d like to wish everyone all the best for the future and I look forward to watching as many games as I can, but as a fan and I haven’t ruled out coming back one day as a sponsor!”

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Royal Porthcawl named UK Golf Club of the Year

Royal Porthcawl, one of the oldest and most distinguished clubs in Wales and the venue for next year’s Senior Open, has been named Golf Club of the Year in the UK. 

The south Wales club beat off the challenge of over 100 other clubs, including Sunningdale, Wentworth and Ganton to win this prestigious award.

“Porthcawl may be in its 122nd year but the club shows no sign of aging” Caroline Scoular, head of the judges, said. “Maintaining traditions while securing a healthy future is tough for all clubs these days. It is a very fine balance and this is something that Royal Porthcawl clearly recognises.

Scoular added: “The judges were looking for a club which manages to combine traditional standards with forward thinking strategies, encouraging new followers as well as ensuring that existing members are looked after and securing a healthy future for both the club and golf in the UK.”

More than 500 people attended the 2013 Club Awards at the Palace Hotel, Manchester, organised and run by Club Mirror magazine. It was the 21st year of the staging of the awards which recognise sports and social clubs around the United Kingdom. Wentworth and Celtic Manor are previous winners of the Golf Club of the Year award.

“This is really good news for Royal Porthcawl golf club on two counts” Tony Lewis, the immediate past captain and a former chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, said. “Tourism is vitally important to Wales and the Welsh Government recognise this. Awards such as this one remind the Welsh Government that we are a forward-looking club that does want to host tournaments and emphasize our position in the world of golf.  And the second reason why this award brings me particular pleasure is that it confirms my hope, expressed when I was captain, that no one should leave this club having had a disappointing experience.”

Royal Porthcawl was conferred with royal status in 1909. It has held the Amateur Championship on six occasions and will do so again in 2016, the 1995 Walker Cup, the Coral Classic, a European Tour event,  in the early nineteen eighties,  the 1964 Curtis Cup, the British Masters in 1961 and the amateur Home Internationals. In March 2010 it hosted the Varsity match when Oxford  defeated Cambridge 9-6.  It is hosting the Senior Open for the first time in 2014.


Further information: Michael Newland, secretary Royal Porthcawl golf club, 01656 782251.

Centre magician Regan King returns to rugby in West Wales

One of the Scarlets' most prolific and talented centres will head back to West Wales next season moving from Heineken Cup finalists Clermont Auvergne.
 

The once-capped All Black was a highly prized member of the Scarlets squad for six years and played an important role in helping develop and push forward a number of the region's world-class backs including Welsh internationals Jon Davies and Rhys Priestland.
 
King joined French giants Clermont Auvergne on a three-year contract in 2011/12 and now returns to re-join the region he proudly calls his spiritual rugby home with a new two-year deal after first moving to Llanelli in May 2005.
 
King, 33, has hit some impressive form this season for his French club in both the Top 14 and the Heineken Cup and notably in Clermont's win over Harlequins in Europe at the end of last month.
 
Respected by the Scarlets faithful for his superb skill set, handling, timing and agility, King's return will be a huge boost to the West Wales region next season within a squad that has plenty of young, up-and-coming talent.
 
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby said: "To have the quality and experience of a player like Regan King back in our squad next season will be a big positive for our region as a whole.
 
"Not only will we have secured a rugby player of real quality on the pitch who has played at the top end of European and French rugby for the past two years, but we've also gained the value of a professional who has such rounded experience which can be passed onto others.
 
"He's shown his inherent quality as a player in his recent performances in the Heineken Cup as well as the domestic French game and is a player any club in Europe would want in their ranks.
 
"What Regan can bring will hopefully inspire our young backs further and thedepth of experience and creativity he's known for will have a positive impact throughout the squad.  You only have to recall what a big influence he had on early senior careers of Jon (Davies), Rhys (Priestland), Gareth (Maule) and many others in his time with us to recognise that value.
 
"We're delighted he's returning to Parc y Scarlets, it will be a warm welcome back home for him and his family and we know as a group of coaches and players that he will help add a different dimension and edge to Scarlets Rugby next season.”
 
King who has born in Cambridge, New Zealand and has a British father achieved his All Blacks cap against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in November 2002.  He also played for Paris based club Stade Francais before leaving to join the Scarlets in the 2005/6 season.
 
He has appeared 143 times in a Scarlets shirt with 180 points; his last game for the Scarlets was against Cardiff Blues at home in front of a packed 11,000 plus Parc y Scarlets crowd on May 6th 2011.
 
King has played 60 games for Clermont to date scoring seven tries.

The Scarlets take on Clermont Auvergne in the first of their Heineken Cup double-headers against the French side on Saturday 7th December with a trip to the fortress of Stade Marcel Michelin where the French side have remained unbeaten for a staggering record of 67 games at home.  Clermont return to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 14th December kick off 3.40pm.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

British & Irish Cup Round 3 preview

The British & Irish Cup enters the double-header phase where the same two teams face each other on back-to-back weekends in December. In all bar one of the six pools there are top-of-the-table clashes to look forward to, meaning the next fortnight is likely to be make-or-break time for many of the participants.

Something has to give in Pool 1 as pool leaders and defending champions Leinster 'A' go up against their nearest rivals Cross Keys. Along with Pontypridd, Cross Keys are the only Welsh side to reach the knockout stages of the cross-border competition. Both sides have nine points after recording wins in their first two games. Moseley play Ealing Trailfinders at Billesley Common. Ealing go into the tie on a high, having won for the first time this season with a 28-18 victory at Jersey.

Pool 2 pacesetters and defending Welsh Premiership champions Pontypridd welcome in-form Championship side London Scottish to Sardis Road. A 3,400-strong crowd turned out to see the Valley Commandos' last B&I Cup fixture: a commendable 29-22 win over London Welsh that gave Cardiff Blues-bound coach Dale McIntosh a fitting send-off. Scottish are second in the pool with winless London Welsh and Edinburgh Academicals, who play each other at Old Deer Park, bringing up the rear.

Pool 3 is shaping up to be the tightest of pools with just two points separating all four sides a third of the way through the fixtures. Bedford's narrow win over Llanelli in round two – their first victory of the season – puts them level on points with the Scarlets. The improving Blues will go into the game in buoyant mood after becoming the first side to beat London Welsh in the Championship this season. A first-ever meeting with Rotherham Titans awaits Llanelli in round 3, while Bedford head to Ireland to play Connacht Eagles.

For the second year running, Plymouth Albion and past winners Munster A are paired together in Devon. This Pool 4 tie is sure to be a keenly-awaited affair as both sides are unbeaten and top the pool with nine points apiece. Munster won 26-22 at Brickfields in the pool stages of last year's competition. Nottingham are away to Stirling County.

Aberavon face three B&I Cup games in quick succession after their original tie against Bristol was abandoned and rescheduled between the Wizards' two games against Pool 5 leaders Leeds Carnegie. Bristol are at home to Gala prior to their trip to the Talbot Athletic Ground on Tuesday December 10th.

In Pool 6, inaugural B&I Cup winners Cornish Pirates come up against Championship rivals Jersey, who they defeated at home and away in the first and last matches of the 2012/13 league campaign. Pirates, like Pontypridd in Pool 2, are the only side to boast a perfect 10 points from 10 record after the first two rounds of action. Influential Jersey scrum-half Nicky Griffiths heads a list of former Pirates set to return to their former home. The remaining Pool 6 tie sees Ulster Ravens travel to Ayr.

Round 3 fixtures
Friday December 6
Moseley v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 19.30
Plymouth Albion v Munster 'A', KO 19.45

Saturday December 7
London Welsh v Edinburgh Academicals, 14:00
Leinster A v Cross Keys, 14:30
Pontypridd v London Scottish, 14:30
Connacht Eagles v Bedford Blues, 14:30
Aberavon v Leeds Carnegie, KO 15:00
Stirling County v Nottingham, KO 15:00
Ayr v Ulster Ravens, KO 15:00
Llanelli v RotherhamTitans, KO 15:30
Cornish Pirates v Jersey, KO 19:00

Sunday December 8
Bristol Rugby v Gala, KO 14:00

Ellis Jenkins October Player of Month

Ellis Jenkins has picked up the Principality Premiership Player of the Month award for October. The Cardiff backrow put in a string of impressive performances at the start of this season to earn the accolade – and also bagged a first Pro12 starting berth for the Blues against Treviso on the weekend.

Cardiff were in the top three going into last weekend's round of fixtures with wins in October over Neath, Newport and Swansea. During the month, Ellis also turned out for Pontypridd in their win over London Welsh in the British & Irish Cup.

He said, "The season's going pretty well so far. We're in a decent position in the league. It was good to get a string of wins, especially on the road and if we can remain in the hunt for a place in the play-offs at the end of the season that would be a huge achievement. It was nice to get a game for Ponty in the British & Irish Cup, especially in Dale McIntosh's last game before joining the Blues as Dale has had such a big influence in my development as a player so far. To win that game with that performance was special and gave Chief the send-off he deserved.”

Ellis, who captained Wales Under 20 to the final of the Junior World Championship in June, says he is simply trying to knuckle down in his first season out of age grade rugby. "I've just been trying to play as well as I can and improve my game week by week. It was great to get a first start for the Blues on the weekend and hopefully I can show what I can do at regional level too. I will try to take any opportunities that come my way in terms of breaking into the Blues first team.”

Cardiff Director of Rugby Martyn Fowler is full of praise for the young flanker. "Ellis is developing into a talented, all-round professional rugby player. He is technically and tactically astute, extremely mature and one of the best readers of the game I've come across. It was great for him to get a start for the Blues last weekend, I'm sure he will go on to prove himself at regional level in the not too distant future."

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

BUCS Women's Rugby: Swansea Uni 0-20 Cardiff Met 2nds

Cardiff Met 2nds secured safe passage through to the second round of the BUCS Trophy with a comfortable 20-0 victory over Welsh rivals Swansea at Sketty Lane.

Cardiff Met’s Amberley Ruck was the star of the show as the scrum-half bagged four well-taken tries in an inspirational performance.

Swansea were unable to string more than a few phases together all match and spent the majority of the game on the back foot, as the visitors controlled the territory and possession.

The match started in a scrappy fashion with handling errors preventing either side from building any momentum.

However, the capital side looked the more threatening, and their first incisive attack saw full-back Chelsea Chamberlain cutting the line to good effect, making 20 yards into the opposition 22 before being scragged by her opposite number, Megan Griffiths.

Met recycled the ball well, with Swansea forced to repel several surges, but their resolve was broken when Ruck spotted a gap at the breakdown to dart over for her first of the afternoon.

The hosts were restricted to lone attacks by fly-half Peita McAllister and centre Robyn Lock, who individually made good headway, but each time lacked the support necessary to keep the move alive.

The capital side ended the first half very much on the front foot, but Swansea managed to hold out any further breaches before the break, with flanker Emily Roberts and back row Chante Lee instrumental in keeping the visitors at bay.

The second half carried on where the first left off with Met once again on top, and they didn’t have to wait long before they were celebrating their second try.

A solid five metre scrum provided the platform with Ruck showing great pace to get on the outside of the Green and Whites’ defence and cross.

It was all Met now, with centre Marie Griffiths and winger Cath Salter both making ground.

However, the third try once again showcased the individual ability of Ruck, as she spied space behind the Swansea line and chipped over the static host defence to re-gather neatly and claim her hat-trick.

Swansea attempted to get something out of the match with Lock and McAllister continuing to provide the attacking threat, but a mistake in midfield saw Met’s Griffiths seize the ball in her own 22 and set out on a length-of-the-field run. The centre was caught agonisingly short of the line by Lock, but Ruck was on hand to collect a neat offload and complete her tally.


The Green and Whites finished the stronger side but they were unable to claim a consolation score.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Division One East Round Up - 23rd November

Merthyr were in sensational form at home to Glamorgan Wanderers yesterday afternoon running in nine tries from all over the pitch to win 59-6.

Coach Lee Jarvis had a run out for the Ironmen and had a great game at outside half pulling the strings in the backline and putting his centres and wingers through gaps with ease.

Iwan Williams and Chris Davies both scored twice for Merthyr along with scrum half Martin Luckwell, Owain Morgan, Matthew Trowbridge, Cameron Gardener and replacement Ollie Smyth as they extended their lead at the top of Division One East.

Heol-Y-Cyw kept up the pressure on leaders Merthyr and were also impressive against a lacklustre Rumney side eventually prevailing 35-18.

The Cockerels scored five tries thanks to a double from Chris Howe, Matthew Pound and Paul Songhurst going over as well as a try, two penalties and two conversions from fly-half Mike Huckridge.

Rumney’s tries came from Loren Quick as well as two penalties and a conversion from outside-half Danny Clark.

Ystrad Rhondda also maintained their pursuit on top spot with a hard fought Rhondda derby win over Treorchy by 27-17.

Winger Gerwyn Davies scored both tries for Ystrad with outside-half Rhys Truelove having a decent day from the tee landing five penalties and a conversion.

Full-back Gary Wilkes scored all of his side’s points for Penallta in their tight 13-3 victory over Rhydyfelin at Ystrad Fawr.

His try conversion and two penalties was enough to see off last season’s Swalec Plate runners-up.

Two James Spears tries and a Kurt Clabby effort was enough for Nelson to see of Gilfach Goch 19-7 at The Parc.

The Unicorns were good value for their win and probably should have scored a few more tries but blew a number of solid opportunities.

Bottom side Bedlinog were unlucky in their attempts at fighting off relegation as they valiantly went down 21-14 away at Ynysybwl.

Division One West Round Up - 23rd November

Glynneath won the battle at the top of Division One West against Waunarlwydd triumphing 30-25 and extending their lead over their rivals in the process.

Despite former Tata Steel coach Rob Hill in charge of the Black and Whites for the first time, they could not end Glynneath’s unbeaten record in One West despite leading 20-3 at half time

Jordan Griffiths, Kier Burrows and James Parry all scored for the table toppers in a superb second half comeback.

Jack O’Riley once again boosted his growing profile by finishing with an individual tally of 15-points thanks to three penalties and three conversions.

Bottom side Ammanford lost for the eighth time this season, this time at the hands of Loughor by 34-17.

Loughor scored five tries in an entertaining fixture with Ryan Hopkins, Dan George, Morgan Bryant, Rhys Corcoran and skipper Jonathan Phillips all touching down.

Cwmllynfell were clinical in their six try defeat of Kenfig Hill by 34-21.

Alex Wilkins, Trystan Lewis, Nathan Ace, Dan Jones and a brace from Scott Gibson helped the Blues move into third place in the table behind Glynneath and Waunarlwydd.

Llangennech recorded only their third win of the season and in some fashion by hammering Crymych 42-14 at the Park Rugby Ground.

A penalty try added to efforts from Rhys Davies, Jon Roberts and a double from Tom Barnes helped them to a comfortable victory.

In the remaining fixtures, Whitland saw off Builth Wells 30-26 and Kidwelly beat Carmarthen Athletic 39-13.

Swalec Championship Round Up - 23rd November

Leaders Ebbw Vale picked up yet another bonus-point victory in their 43-3 hammering of Beddau at Mount Pleasant Park and extended their lead at the top of the Swalec Championship in the process.

The Steelmen scored seven tries in another comfortable afternoon with powerful No.8 Spencer Gibson, Jordan Howells and influential skipper Damien Hudd all scoring twice along with David James.

Jason Strange’s men remain unbeaten in the league and remain on course for their long awaited Premiership promotion in a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’.

Second placed Narberth had four penalties from Ianto Griffiths to thank for their close 12-10 victory away at Tata Steel.

The Saints scored the solitary try of the game with Corey Armstrong crossing and had a chance to claim the spoils with Simon Evans having a penalty with the last kick of the game but he saw his effort sail just wide of the posts to leave the Otters as the victors.

Bridgend Athletic won consecutive games for the first time this season after overcoming RGC 1404 21-13 at home.

Rhys Ward-Jones and Michael Powell scored the Athletic’s only tries whilst Steven Lewis kicked 11-points including a spectacular drop goal to lift them into 8th position.

Bonymaen secured a vital surprise away win at Llanharan coming out on top 22-13.

Joe Millen was the visitor’s hero as he scores in the 79th minute to give his side only their second win of the season.

John Hindman and Rhys Leonard also scored for Bonymaen while Llanharan’s tries came from Morgan Williams, Will Singer and Jonathan Lewis.

Their win came in vein though as Blackwood who are directly above them also ground out a much needed win away at Tondu by 17-13.

A penalty try and scores from Matthew McGovern and Owain Williams was enough for Blackwood in response a single Matthew Phillips try and eight points from Matt Murphy for the Waterwheelers.

Newbridge also claimed something of a surprise win beating Cardiff Met by the narrowest of margins 10-9.

Steffan Moore scored the only try of the game while Kieron Meek added the extras from the boot.

Bargoed continued their recent run of victories with a bonus point 25-13 win at Pontypool as Luke Smalley, James Pizey and Geraint Edmonds all went over.