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Judgement Day tickets on sale tomorrow

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JUDGEMENT DAY VII, the 2019 incarnation of the annual ‘super day-out’ for Welsh rugby which sees all four regions face-off in back-to-back Guinness PRO14 matches under one roof, will take place at Principality Stadium on Saturday, April 27, – and tickets are on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11am.

Wales’ international heroes will collide in Cardiff as the Dragons face last year’s PRO14 finalists the Scarlets in the first match of the day, kicking-off at 3pm, before Cardiff Blues host the Ospreys at 5.15pm in front of an expected 60,000-plus crowd.

Off the pitch the Welsh Rugby Union and regions have also moved to secure the future of Judgement Day, agreeing a new partnership for the next four years.

Previously, the two home sides and the WRU shared income generated from gate receipts, but a fundamental shift in the way the Judgement Day event is to be managed means that now all four regions are part of the agreement.

All four regions will now play a regular home game at Principality Stadium as part of Judgement Day and 80% of the ticket profits for the event will be split between the two nominated home teams, with the two away teams receiving 20%.

The WRU and the regions will work with Guinness PRO14 on organising fixtures so that, ideally, the Ospreys and Scarlets, for example, would play a nominated home game in the year when they have 11 home fixtures in the season, ensuring all four regions play ten games at their own venues throughout each year.

The other major advance under the new agreement will see ALL season tickets holders from the visiting teams granted access to ticket prices frozen at just £10 per head (£5 concession for U16s) when purchased from the relevant region’s ticket office, with home team season tickets continuing to include Judgement Day.

“The aim is to reward and say thank you to all season tickets holders for their continued support of Welsh rugby,” said WRU CEO Martyn Phillips.

General ticket prices, which have been frozen at £10 for the last three years, are increasing for the 2019 event, however, the introduction of an ‘early bird’ offer will ensure tickets also remain available at the frozen price (which includes £5 concession) to all supporters, if bought in the lower tier before Tuesday, December 4.

General prices are £25 middle tier (£10 concession) and revert to £15 for both lower and upper tier adult tickets after the ‘early bird’ lower tier offer ends – with the £10, U16 concession ticket remaining to ensure the family event is accessible for all.

“We have evolved our approach to the Judgement Day concept over the years, it has become a must see attraction in Welsh rugby’s annual calendar and a celebration of the regional game,” added Phillips.

“We have been working hard on ensuring that the event goes from strength to strength and a fundamentally collaborative approach, ensuring all four teams are now fully incentivised financially as well as competitively on the field, is the way forward.

“Judgement Day attendances have now broken the 60,000 mark for the last three years in a row, this is consistently the top fixture in the Guinness PRO14 calendar and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure it comes back even bigger and better at the culmination of a huge season for Welsh rugby ahead of RWC 2019.”

Judgement Day VII will be a final chance for Wales’ selectors to see the large majority of their potential Rugby World Cup squad pit their wits against each other, before warm-up matches later in the summer (Wales face England at Twickenham on August 11).

“The Judgement Day concept has become a landmark occasion for the Guinness PRO14 and it’s terrific that it will continue for another four years, but it’s even better news to hear that the partnership has been enhanced to provide rewards for all four teams involved,” said PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi.

“Judgement Day brings a showcase of what Welsh regional rugby has to offer, from the pageantry and passion that Principality Stadium provides to the sheer international quality of the teams testing themselves in the white-hot derby environment.

“The consistently high attendances that attract die-hard fans, families and new supporters alike, have been the product of incredible work by the WRU and the regions. That working relationship has become even stronger now and that can only be to the benefit of rugby in Wales and the Guinness PRO14. Long may it continue.”

As well as the ‘early bird’ offer, which discounted tickets at £10 and £5 concession until Tuesday, December 4, a Christmas gift option is also available at the point of purchase which adds a festive card for the recipient and guarantees delivery before Christmas Day if ordered by 12 noon on December 20, for £4.

Print at home tickets, which don’t incur a postage charge, are available in all categories, with normal booking fees at £1 per ticket and post & packaging at £3, from tomorrow, via www.wru.co.uk/tickets.

Judgement Day VII, Saturday, April 27, Principality Stadium:

Dragons v Scarlets – Kick Off 1500hrs

Cardiff Blues v Ospreys – Kick Off 1715hrs

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Rugby pays tribute to Tommo

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TRIBUTES have poured in following the news that popular Scarlets match-day announcer Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thomas has passed away at the age of 53.
Tommo was a huge character at Parc y Scarlets on match-day, bringing his infectious personality to the mic.
An official statement from the Scarlets said: “We are devastated to hear that the voice of Parc y Scarlets, Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thomas, has passed away suddenly.
“Tommo was a hugely popular figure as the Parc y Scarlets match-day announcer, a passionate Scarlets fan who brought his character and energy to every match.”
Scarlets chaplain Reverend Eldon Phillips said: “We are devastated to hear this tragic news. Tommo loved the Scarlets and put his heart and soul into his role as our match-day announcer.
“A huge character, he was much loved by supporters, players and staff.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Donna and son Cian at this sad time.”
Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney said: “This is desperately sad news. Tommo will be greatly missed by us all. I’ll miss his smile, energy and passion. Gone too soon, much love to his family at this terrible time.”
Attack coach Richard Whiffin tweeted: “Incredibly sad news. Tommo will be greatly missed by us all. Will miss his match day hugs! Love to his friends & family at this terrible time.”
Referee Nigel Owens took to social media to say: “Rwy methu credu y peth. Well I am devastated. A great man and a true friend. I Cant beleive it. Cydymdeimlad dwys iw wraig ar mab ac ir teulu I gyd. Bydd colled enfawr ar ei ol. Always had a smile on his face. RIP Tommo
Tommo was hugely popular with Scarlets players who posted tributes on their own personal social media pages.
Springbok Uzair Cassiem said: “Devastated by the news of your passing! Always got the biggest smile, big handshake before and after games! To the family and friends of Andrew Tommo Thomas, condolences from my family and myself.
Wales prop Rob Evans said: “Really sad to hear the news about Tommo tonight. Thoughts are with his family, a great man full of laughs.”
Former Scarlets captain Rupert Moon said: “Lost a great friend @TOMMORADIO …… my brother by another mother. Thoughts with his family & all his many friends. Sleep well buddy. Big boys do cry.”
Another ex-Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees said: “Can’t believe the news coming from west tonight. Tommo you were a true gent. PYS will never be the same!!”
Former Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart said: “Hearing of the passing of @TOMMORADIO, dreadful news. What a great man. He brought laughter to any room he entered. Will be remembered and missed. #TrueScarlet
Title-winning Ireland lock Tadhg Beirne, now with Munster, said: “Very sad news to hear of the passing of Tommo. An absolute gentleman, a passionate Welshman, and a true Scarlet.”
Among the other former players to pay their tributes were Kieron Fonotia, Michael Tagicakibau, Ryan Lamb, Rhys Thomas and Gareth Maule, while messages of condolence came from Cardiff Blues, Dragons and Ospreys,
Dragons hooker Richard Hibbard said: “Really sad news, RIP Tommo. What a great bloke.”
Tommo was also a popular radio presenter. He had been with BBC Radio Cymru between 2014 and 2018. He then left to present a daily program on Nation Broadcasting station. In 2011 he won the Radio Presenter of the Year award for his work on Nation stations in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
Rhuanedd Richards, Editor of BBC Radio Cymru, said: “Tommo was proud of his roots and a unique broadcaster who loved to entertain his audience on Radio Cymru. With his powerful voice and larger than life personality, his love for his family, west Wales and of course the Scarlets were a great influence on his broadcasting.”

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Swans grab last gasp play-off spot

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WAYNE ROUTLEDGE’s last-gasp header saw Swansea City secure a play-off spot with a handsome away victory over 10-man Reading on a dramatic Wednesday night (July 22).

Steve Cooper’s side knew they had to win at the Madejski Stadium to have any hope of a top-six finish, and Rhian Brewster’s 10th goal of the season gave them an ideal start.

The sending off of Yakou Meite then gave the Swans a man advantage, but the Royals equalised before the half through a George Puscas penalty.

The Swans restored their lead through a classy finish from substitute Routledge, before Liam Cullen showed great composure to steer in his first goal for the club.

And when Routledge popped up at the death to complete his brace it put the Swans into the top six as Forest suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Stoke, meaning Swansea got into the play-offs on goal difference.

The Swans started on the front foot, with centurion Connor Roberts having particular joy down the right-hand flank.

Brewster then nearly threaded Conor Gallagher in on goal after fine work by Andre Ayew, before Roberts hit a strike into the ground and over the bar after Jake Bidwell had made the overlap on the opposite flank.

The hosts responded by having a good spell of possession, probing and asking a few questions of their own.

But the visitors hit the lead in the 16th minute through Brewster. The striker picked the ball up some 30 yards out and got the ball out of his feet before smashing a long-range drive that completely deceived Rafael in the Reading goal.

John Swift curled a free-kick over at the other end, while more good work by Roberts could not quite end with Bidwell getting on the end of a deep cross before Rafael made a hash of dealing with a Gallagher cross.

Swift headed straight at Erwin Mulder from a good counter on the half-hour mark, with Ayew quickly advancing up the field to work Rafael again.

Opportunities were coming at both ends, with Mulder called into action again as Meite took aim from the left side of the area.
Swansea were riding their luck a little and had a let-off when a sliced clearance landed on top of the bar.

Matt Grimes had a free-kick pushed away by Rafael before the home side were reduced to 10 men after Meite had pushed Mike van der Hoorn in the face after a tussle for the ball.

But the hosts made light of the numerical disadvantage by levelling after Bidwell was adjudged to have fouled Andy Rinomhota, with Puscas beating Mulder – who got a hand to the strike – from the spot.

However, the Swans should have led at the break. Ben Cabango’s shot was blocked and fell to Jay Fulton, but the Scot pulled his shot wide of the target.

Rafael pushed away an Ayew drive right on half-time, with Swansea frustrated that referee Stephen Martin did not award them a penalty of their own as Fulton went down under a challenge from Omar Richards.

With Cardiff winning and Nottingham Forest losing, Cooper knew goals were needed and he made two changes at the break.

Yan Dhanda came on for Fulton, while Routledge replaced van der Hoorn, and they were immediately on the front foot.

With Swansea committing so many players forward, Reading looked to sit deep and play on the break and they proved resolute as the visitors battled to find a way through.

Grimes curled a free-kick wide of the target and Gallagher also threatened from distance, but the hour mark came and went without any clear-cut chances to show for their dominance of possession and territory.

However, when they did craft a sight of goal they took the chance clinically. Grimes produced a lovely ball, and Routledge controlled superbly to loft the ball over Rafael and into the net.

Unfortunately for the Swans, that goal went in moments after Forest had equalised against Stoke, which appeared to put a sizeable dent in their playoff aspirations.

Nevertheless, Cooper’s side continued to search for more goals in the hope events in the East Midlands would turn back in their favour.

They so nearly made it 3-1 with 17 minutes to play as lovely link play from Rutledge and Bidwell ended with Ayew steering just wide.

The situation was changing all the time, and Stoke retook the lead at Forest to leave the door ajar for the Swans.

And, when Stoke scored a third at the City Ground and Cullen coolly fired home his first senior goal for the club with six minutes remaining, they suddenly only needed a goal to finish in the play-off places.

Grimes had a deflected shot tipped over but the Swans then got the goal they needed in stoppage time as Routledge popped up to nod in at the far post, with Stoke’s fourth goal putting the matter beyond doubt a few moments later to spark delighted celebrations among Cooper, his players and his staff.

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Glamorgan launch new kit

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GLAMORGAN Cricket has unveiled its new Vitality Blast playing kit for the 2020 season.

Designed by the Club’s official kit supplier, Masuri, alongside Glamorgan’s management, players and coaches, the brand-new Vitality Blast strip contains a subtle Welsh twist.

Fitting Glamorgan’s traditional colour schemes, the top is dark navy with a tonal dragon across the front – a nod to the old Glamorgan nickname and the Welsh identity – while a sharp yellow trim on the neck and sleeves frames the top.

The famous ‘Daff’ sits on the heart of the shirt, with MiPost’s strong Welsh brand centre-stage. Appearing on the collars are the logos of ‘Official Players Car Partner’, Mon Motors and Welsh company, Philtronics Solutions, with Discover Leeks on the right sleeve and SA Group on the back.

The famous Aston Martin logo features on both side of the Glamorgan T20 cap, as they continue their ongoing support of the club.

Head of Commercial, Huw Warren, said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Masuri throughout the design process and together developed an exciting new kit we’re sure our supporters will love with its strong connections with Wales.

“Our Masuri kits have always been hugely successful with players and fans alike and we look forward to continuing our commercial partnership with them.

“We can’t wait to see our players wearing the new kit when the Blast gets underway later this summer.”

Masuri CEO, Sam Miller, said: ‘’Once again it has been a pleasure working with the team at Glamorgan to bring this year’s kit to life, and we are looking forward to seeing it in use during the much anticipated Vitality Blast this year.’’

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