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Scarlets back on track

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AFTER defeat to Edinburgh in their previous game, Scarlets got back to winning ways on Friday (Nov 23) as they beat Ulster 29-12 at Parc Y Scarlets.

The clash against Ulster is the first of three against the side in the next four weeks with the Northern Irish side their European back to back opposition in rounds three and four of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Friday’s win kept up the Scarlets’ excellent home record and the bonus point victory sees them move back in to second position in Conference B.

The opening fifteen minutes was scoreless with Ulster keeping Scarlets in their own half despite the home side enjoying a decent share of the possession.

Photo by Darren Harries

Scarlets got up in to Ulster’s 22 after a grubber kick from Johnny McNicholl and the chase from Kieron Fonotia forced Ulster in to touch. A line out saw Scarlets ship the ball wide, the attacking phase looked promising but crossing by number eight Uzair Cassiem saw possession handed back to Ulster who kicked down field.

Ulster got back in to Scarlets territory and Henry Speight made the hard yards before passing back inside to the scrum half who crossed the whitewash. Fly half Billy Burns added the conversion.

Scarlets soon hit back with a penalty from Dan Jones after Ulster are penalised on their own 10 metre line, 3-7.

After some great work from Scarlets forwards, Will Boyde won the ball at the top of the line out and the ball was moved to Ed Kennedy who made a break for the try line but slipped. They maintained possession and with plenty of support, the ball was recycled with Werner Kruger claiming the try! Jones adds the conversion.

Jones kept the Scarlets playing in the right area of the field with kicks to the corner. A kick to the North East corner gave Marc Jones an opportunity to throw to the line. The ball was won at the top and the home side went on the attack through the forwards. The ball was shipped wide and Asquith spots a gap and goes over but the try was disallowed after the TMO spotted blocking.

Despite that the Scarlets continued to come forward and after another line out and the try eventually came from Fonotia with Jones just missing the conversion to leave his side with a 22-7 half time lead.

Daf Hughes replaced Marc Jones at hooker for the second half with Dan Davis remaining on for the injured Ed Kennedy.

Only five minutes in to the second half and Scarlets made decent progress in to Ulster’s 22. McNicholl made a break as he dances around their defenders, making it look easy. They won a line out and the forwards did a great job in edging them ever closer to the try line and Kruger thought he had scored his second but it was ruled out after the referee said the ball had been held up.

The Scarlets continued to have a foothold in the game and piled the pressure on but a number of errors saw them miss out on potential points.

Another move from the home side saw them inch closer to the line and the ball was played across for Tom Prydie, making his return to action for the first time since early October, who crossed for the try which was then converted by Jones for a 29-7 lead.

Ulster did not give up and capitalised on a lack of concentration from the Scarlets when Johnny Stewart scored their second try of the game but the conversion was missed.

Scarlets kept the pressure on Ulster in the final ten minutes of the game and despite a late comeback by the opposition in the final seconds of play Scarlets kept them away from the whitewash and brought the game to a close happy with the five points.

On Saturday (Dec 1), Scarlets travel to Scotland to take on Glasgow Warriors before their Champions Cup double header against Ulster.

The first of those takes place on Friday, December 7, at Parc Y Scarlets with a 7:45 kick off. The return fixture takes place a week later with the same kick off time at the Kingspan Stadium.

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Llanelli Warriors RFC Win World Award

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THE LLANELLI WARRIORS were named double Ability Rugby International Champions, the results announced with perfect timing just as the Warriors held their presentation evening.

The Ability Rugby International Championship compares the results of all the mixed ability sides across the globe, with an emphasis on games played but with a win element incorporated.

The results for 2018/29 have been much delayed but saw the Warriors regain the title from Scottish National Clan team. They edged out newcomers the Dragon Allstars who were playing their debut season. The 2019/20 season may have been curtailed, but the Warriors still managed more fixtures than any other mixed ability side, this time edging out another new side, the Port Talbot Panthers.

Mixed Ability rugby sees players with and without disabilities play alongside each other and against ‘normal’ rugby clubs. The concept continues to spread rapidly and the days when it was just the Warriors and their Swansea rivals the Gladiators, have long gone. 10 years ago the 1st sides started forming outside of West Wales and there are now over 100 teams and groups world wide.

Captain Richard Evans was very proud. “It takes a lot to organise fixtures regularly so this is a great reward for all our efforts. The boys are very committed and we just love to play. It’s great to see so many sides playing now and it’s great to be at the forefront of the movement”.

The news boosted the Warriors presentation evening where they looked back over their season.

James Anthony was the main beneficiary, playing his 1st full season his pace on the wing and accurate boot helped him lift the Top Points Scorer award and the Player of the Year titles.

Players’ Player went to 2nd row Tom Ashour. Quick enough to have previously played on the wing, he proved a reliable source of lineout ball and was always combative around the field.

Luke Pearse was named Most Improved Player, narrowly beating Will Browne, Lloyd Cawley and Dan Grinter.
The most closely contested was Sportsman where Luke Pearse, Arwel Thomas and Dan John were pipped by Chris Davies. The nominees were described as the glue of the club by Chairman Gwilym Lewis, and vital to the teams success.

The Warriors are especially anxious for Covid regulations to lift as the new season will be their 25th. Planning is difficult at present but they hope to have a number of special fixtures. At the end of the season they are due to head out to Ireland for the 3rd Mixed Ability world tournament which will feature 24 clubs from 8 different countries.

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New look Cwm aiming to bounce back

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During the lockdown period Ryan Stephens and his Cwmamman United
management team took the opportunity to undertake a major review of the
playing set up at the club and with training now having returned they have
already started implementing their exciting plan.

“ It was extremely disappointing to be moved down from Cymru South league
following the FAW average points formula, particularly when our form since
January suggested we could well stay up” said Ryan “ but these are difficult
times and to be honest we had not been consistent enough over the season”
Ryan continued ” We realised though that this was an opportunity to take a
good look at ourselves and create an identity and foundation where we could
enhance the way we developed our players and improve our professionalism.”
The club has recently introduced a new range of training and fitness
programmes, improved technical data and analysis capabilities as well as
create a players charter enhancing team spirit.

“ We have been busy bringing in a mix of young and experienced players to
join a squad where we have been lucky to keep a large group of key players
from last season” said Ryan. ” Combined with a strong group of existing key
young local talent that we expect to see step up this season and with two
strong reserve sides we feel we are in a really good place team wise. It is great
to see everyone buying in to the new approach”

“ We recognise this will be an extremely difficult league with many strong
sides but we are really excited about the challenge to get back to the Cymru
South. We aim to be a club where our players feel truly valued and our club
members, supporters and the community feel proud. We will continue our
preparations so that once it is safe to resume matches again we will be ready.”

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Tomi Lewis the latest to sign

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FLYING wing Tomi Lewis has become the latest player to agree a new contract for the 2020-21 season.

The 21-year-old speedster is among a group of exciting young backs coming through the ranks at Parc y Scarlets.

A member of the Wales U20s squad that competed at the Junior World Championships in Argentina last year, Tomi has also shone on the world seven series, scoring seven tries in his debut tournament in Dubai as an 18-year-old.

A former pupil at Llandovery College, he came through the age-grade system at the Scarlets and scored on his senior debut in an Anglo-Welsh Cup clash against the Dragons. He impressed for the Scarlets A team during this season’s Celtic Cup and linked up on loan with Ampthill RFC in the English Championship in January.

Scarlets recently announced new deals for 17 members of their squad with Tomi becoming the 15th player who has come through the Scarlets system to have agreed a new contract.

“Tomi is another young player who has an exciting future in the game,” said head coach Glenn Delaney. “He is working hard in the squad and has already shown what he is capable of playing for Wales at U20s and Sevens level. He is one of a number of talented young backs we are looking forward to seeing in Scarlets colours.”

Tomi said: “I am delighted to have signed a new deal with the Scarlets. I have been here since the age of 16 and have been fortunate to have been able to learn from some great players.

“At the moment, it is fantastic being in the squad alongside internationals like Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans and I’m looking forward to competing for the Scarlets jersey over the coming years.”

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