WALES women will take on a “no fear” approach for their Six Nations opener with France on Saturday evening as head coach Rowland Phillips targets challenging the tournament’s elite.
A trip to Montpellier is a tough start for Wales, but a young squad is relishing the chance to play in front of a hostile crowd on the back of a successful autumn campaign.
Phillips’ side pushed a top-class Canada outfit all the way in November and also claimed victories over South Africa and Hong Kong. It all paints a positive picture for the team ahead of facing France.
“We came out of the autumn having moved our game on a bit. Our conditioning levels improved and on the whole, everything was just better,” said Phillips. “The skillset of the players also went up and if anything we’d have liked to have continued playing in November.
“When we came back in to start preparing for the Six Nations, the key thing for us was to pick that momentum back up and continue from where we left off at the end of last year. It feels like that is exactly what has happened.”
Meanwhile, Phillips has added two players to his squad ahead of the France clash. RGC’s Teleri Davies – who can play at lock or No 8 – bolsters the options. Davies made her Wales debut last season against Scotland and replaces a key figure in Sioned Harries who suffered an ankle injury in the Six Nations warm-up clash with Ireland which required surgery.
Uncapped Cardiff Blues prop Danielle Dinapoli comes in for Brea Leung who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.
Wales captain and hooker Carys Phillips said: “France will be a very tough game, especially away from home. We have a lot of young players in our squad, but they are hungry for that challenge.
“I feel we have made a massive step forward from this time last year and I’m also really excited to play in front of a massive crowd. It will be an excellent experience all round.
“There is absolutely no fear in our squad and that’s brilliant for us.”
Rowland Phillips added: “France beat New Zealand in the autumn and that has made everyone sit up and take notice. We know France are strong anyway, but that result certainly lifted an eyebrow.
“The tournament will be game by game, but we need to measure ourselves by results as well as performances. That’s important for us. We want to reach the World Cup in two years with a young but experienced squad of players.
“The target for us is to move up the table. There are teams in the competition we have beaten before and beaten recently, so we need to be confident of our abilities.
“The Six Nations table always tends to split into two groups. We need to be in the first of those.”
On the prospect of facing Wales, France captain Gaelle Hermet said: “Our match against Wales is our first and therefore most important. They will come with great commitment and determination.
“Wales will want to beat us in Montpellier and it will be a very complicated match but one we will be ready for.”
Wales Women take on France at GGL Stadium, Montpellier on Saturday evening. The match will be shown live on S4C (8pm GMT) and on France Télévisions (9pm local time).
Tickets for Wales Women v England (Sunday, Feb 24, 12.30pm) and Ireland (Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm) are on sale now from Cardiff Blues box office online and to personal callers.
Ammanford back on track
AMMANFORD got their season firmly back on track with a decisive eight wicket victory over local rivals Pontarddulais at the Park on Saturday (Jun 15).
It was a good toss to win, since the covers had been on all week due to the ever present showers.
Matthew Fisher, without hesitation, put Bont in to bat and reaped the reward in the first over when opener Gary Arrowsmith was unluckily run out whilst backing up from the bowler’s end.
But from there on it was the home side’s bowling and fielding which took control.
Opener Paul Rees (40) put up the only real resistance as Bont were dismissed for 137 in the final over.
Josh Davies and Andrew Salter took three wickets each whilst Dan Roberts picked up a further two.
The excellence of the fielding was exemplified by Rhys Davies with three catches, the third of which compared very favourably with the recent and much vaunted spectacular effort of England’s Ben Stokes.
With 50 overs to reach a modest 138, Ammanford’s openers Rhys Culley (27) and Elis Richards (37) provided the perfect response.
Refusing to be hurried in any way, they clung tightly to their respective wickets and built an invaluable opening stand of 77.
When they eventually departed, Andrew Salter (35no) and Dan Roberts (19no) were given licence to finish the game in dramatic fashion with 8 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Ammanford waltzed past the Bont target with eight wickets and 11 overs to spare.
The win takes them up to fifth place in the table, only 22 points behind league leaders St Fagans in what is turning out to be a wide-open title race.
On Saturday (Jun 22) they are away to bottom placed Newport, who recorded only their second win of the season on Saturday (Jun 15).
Young winger joins Ammanford
AMMANFORD AFC are delighted to announce that young winger Tristan Jenkins has joined the club ahead of the 2019/2020 season.
The young winger had previously played for JD Welsh Premier League outfit Llanelli Town, but has now left the club in order to link up with the Welsh League Division One outfit.
The youngster made his debut for the Reds last term in the top flight, and was chosen in the final 18 man squad for the Welsh College’s Under 18s squad last season.
Upon joining the club, Jenkins stated: “I’m delighted to have joined the club, I’m looking forward to playing with a different group of players. I can’t wait to get started.”
Manager Gruff Harrison added: “Delighted to bring Tristan into the club. He fits all the characteristics we are looking for in a player. He is young and hungry with great quality, which is the perfect mixture.”
Ammanford welcome Tristan to the football club and look forward to working with him in the forthcoming season.
Towy Riders prove that local members can reach the very highest levels
TOWY RIDERS Cycle Club is a rare gem of a club in the far West of the UK. With its home at the fantastic Carmarthen Velodrome it provides opportunities for riders to enjoy and excel at cycling. Often elite sport pathways are hard to find and navigate but Towy Riders has proved that a local member can reach the very highest levels of competitive cycling from a start in Carmarthen Park and are proud to support the final stage of the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour today (June 15).
Founded in 2007 and based at the historic Carmarthen Park and Velodrome, a hub for cycle sport for 119 years, Towy Riders Cycle Club has grown into one of
the most successful clubs for youth performance development and achievements in the UK.
Towy Riders Cycle Club caters for all ages and abilities and its riders always make a memorable impression in their distinctive Gold and Red Kit wherever they ride and compete.
An accredited British Cycling ‘Go-Ride’ club the first in Wales, Towy Riders Cycle Club offer a broad base of enjoyable and progressive cycle skills development,
together with structured coaching for all ages and abilities. Coaching is provided by a team of British Cycling-registered and qualified coaches. It welcomes new members of all ages and abilities from 6 to 106 years of age.
The Club runs regular coached sessions in Carmarthen and the surrounding area for beginners and improvers alike, with many youth members, progressing to
take part in organised events throughout Wales, the UK and beyond. The club boasts a proud record of many former members, especially girls, advancing to
the highest standard and representing Wales and Team GB or Pro teams.
Carmarthen Velodrome – a history
Carmarthen Velodrome and Park, the home of Towy Riders Cycle Club, has a long standing heritage of sports and recreational cycling.
The 405 metre banked oval track was built within the park grounds for the people of Carmarthenshire and opened on Easter Monday in 1900.
It became a sporting hub where thousands of spectators would watch the Herculean efforts of bygone racers charging round the track on their E.C. Simmons bikes. It is believed to be the oldest outdoor concrete velodrome in the World in almost continuous use for over 100 years until 2015 when the track surface had deteriorate and became unsuitable for modern competition and events.
Thanks to local & National support it has recently secured large investments from Sports Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council & Carmarthen Town Council. This enabled the completion of a full restoration program to the track in 2017 with more than 230 concrete panels replaced as part of a £600,000 renovation project. It now boasts an all-weather surface and the additional safety features that are required to ensure it is once again able to showcase major events.
The track is now in full operation and managed through Carmarthen Town council. It is open to the public to use anytime there is not a pre-booking. Welsh Cycling and professional coaches often run training sessions on the track for a wide range of abilities.
Towy Riders has dominated the podiums of youth racing Nationally over the years with particular success with female riders. Youth riders travel all over the country to participate in the National Road and Track championships and other race series.
Towy Riders also have a large representation in both the GB and the Welsh teams, at both youth and senior level
Outline rider profiles:
Manon Lloyd – Under 23 European champion and represented Team GB worldwide, now a successful road rider for “Drops” currently riding in the Ovo Womens Tour. https://www.dropscycling.com/ Represented Wales in the Commonwealth games on the road and track. Towy Riders are really excited to see former Towy Rider Manon Lloyd riding as a professional in the Ovo Womens Tour, for many of the young riders this will be their first exposure to professional women’s cycling. To see a former club member riding the best bikes, supported by professional mechanics and riding at the very highest level of professional women’s cycling is really inspiring.
Scott Davies – currently rides for the world pro team Dimension. Palmares includes multiple national road and TT champion titles, winner of the Junior Tour of Wales and recently completed his first Grand Tour the Giro D Italia. The Towy Riders were out in force last year to support Scott as he competed in the OVO mens tour of Britain when it came to Carmarthenshire.
Jessica Roberts – multiple National Champion on the road and track, current women’s National Road champion. Rides for GB senior academy and has dominated the Tour Series this year, now looks forward to European Championships. Represented Wales in the Commonwealth games last year on the track and road
Ella Barnwell – multiple National Champion on the road and track as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy, world championship medallist, now looks forward to junior European and World championships
Emma Finucane – multiple National Champion on the road and track as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy as a sprinter now looks forward to junior European and World Track championships
Eluned King – successful career in cyclocross and National road champion as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy.
Awen Roberts – Welsh champion and dominates the Youth series on both the road and Track.
Owain Roberts – current Welsh TT champion, Bryn Davies, Cian Roberts and Amy Cole are all members of the Welsh Cycling junior team.
Anthony Jones – is a coach and veteran cyclist with current titles of Welsh 50 mile and 12 hour time trial champion. Tony’s record set last year saw him complete 297.29miles, averaging 24.77mph for 12 hours.
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