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Faletau returns to lead Wales

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TAULUPE Faletau will lead Wales for the first time as he returns to the starting line-up as captain for Sunday’s NatWest 6 Nations clash against Italy in Cardiff (KO 15:00)

The 70-times capped No. 8 returns from injury to take the captain’s armband and will line-up in a new look back row for Wales with fellow British & Irish Lion Justin Tipuric wearing six with Scarlets flanker James Davies making his international debut at openside.

Experienced Bradley Davies, who has featured in all three opening Six Nations encounters for Wales from the bench, starts alongside Cory Hill in the second-row for the match that is part of a double-header with Wales Women (who kick off at 11:45). ​

Nicky Smith and Tomas Francis join Elliot Dee in the front-row, the Dragons hooker making his first start for his country.

Gareth Davies partners Gareth Anscombe at half-back with Owen Watkin coming in for his first Six Nations start to partner Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield.

Liam Williams moves to full-back as George North comes into the starting XV to form a back-three alongside Steff Evans.

“It is a great opportunity for Taulupe, he is a world class player, hugely experienced and this will be great for his development and we are looking forward to seeing those leadership qualities come through,” said Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We have made some changes, but we are bringing in a lot of quality and a lot of experience with the likes of Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, George North and Taulupe.

“Add into that James Davies who gets his first cap, Elliot Dee who gets his first start – this is a great opportunity for them to play tournament rugby.

“It is challenging making changes, but we have picked a really exciting team and Sunday is their chance.”

Scarlets trio Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee provide the front-row cover with Cardiff Blues duo Seb Davies and Ellis Jenkins completing the forward contingent on the bench.  Scarlets’ Aled Davies, Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny provide the back-line cover.

Wales Team to Play Italy:

Liam Williams (Saracens) (46 Caps)

George North (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)

Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (3 Caps)

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (4 Caps)

Steff Evans (Scarlets) (8 Caps)

Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)

Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (30 Caps)

Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (16 Caps)

Elliot Dee (Dragons) (5 Caps)

Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (29 Caps)

Cory Hill (Dragons) (13 Caps)

Bradley Davies (Ospreys) (60 Caps)

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (55 Caps)

James Davies (Scarlets) (*Uncapped)

Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (70 Caps) (CAPT)

Replacements:

Ken Owens (Scarlets) (55 Caps)

Rob Evans (Scarlets) (23 Caps)

Samson Lee (Scarlets) (37 Caps)

Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)

Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) (5 Caps)

Aled Davies (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (7 Caps)

Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (76 Caps)

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Mumbles win well against Ammanford seconds

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AMMANFORD seconds suffered a heavy 125 run defeat at the hands of Mumbles at Marespool.

Winning the toss, Ammanford invited Mumbles to bat first, and a terrific 188 run partnership for the second wicket, featuring Ben Jones (94) and Stuart Seaton (77), helped the home team to a healthy 221 for 4 in 45 overs.

Several Ammanford batsmen got into double figures but none were able to stay long enough to make any impression on the run chase. Eirian Morgan top-scored with 25, but the Ammanford innings finished disappointingly on 96 all out.

Gethin Morgan and Phil Roche each took three wickets for Mumbles.

Thirds beaten by Landore

Ammanford thirds travelled to Landore only to lose their match by 50 runs.

Ammanford skipper Carl Griffiths put Landore in to bat, and the home team scored 148 for 9. Landore
skipper Terry Summerfield top-scored with 33.

Ammanford’s Tom Davies was chief wicket-taker with 4 for 38.

Despite a solid 30 from opener and man-of-the-match Tom Davies, Ammanford failed to get anywhere near the required target and folded their innings on 98 inside 34 overs.

The defeat dropped them out of the top half of division six on the SWCA.

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Cwmamman United Juniors host end of season event

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CWMAMMAN United juniors held their end of season event at Clwb Godre’r Mynydd Ddu Glanamman.

As they celebrated throughout the day with their different age groups from Under 6 to Under 14 it looked as if almost every child in the Cwm had attended at some point.

The Juniors section at the club has grown to around 150 children over the last couple of years and with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of committee, coaches and volunteers behind them the club is excitedly anticipating further growth.

A fantastic time was had by all with all age groups proudly having their moment in the sun.

Robert Griffiths the Clubs Junior Chairman said: “I have to thank all our fantastic people at the club that get the kids out playing whether sorting games, coaching, fund raising or organising events such as our club parties and awards such as these.

“We continiue to grow and if your child would like to be part of a safe, healthy and fun environment they are most welcome here.”

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Depleted Ammanford beaten by seven wickets

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A DEPLETED Ammanford lost by seven wickets to Bridgend Town in a rain affected match at windswept Newbridge Fields on Satuday (Jun 25).

With the start delayed by over an hour because of rain, the match was reduced to 39 overs before a ball was bowled, and the toss immediately became the crucial factor in deciding the game’s outcome.

Bridgend won it and, predictably enough, put Ammanford in to bat.

The writing was on the wall as the visitors lost two wickets for 9 runs on an unpredictable wicket which was one of the first bowler-friendly tracks encountered this season.

Only four batters reached double figures as wickets fell at regular intervals. Top scorer was 14 year old wicket-keeper Gruffudd Owen (19no) who took the game to the visitors and looked capable of scoring many more had he not run out of partners.

Ammanford were all out for 90 inside 30 overs.

Tea was taken early as more heavy rain swept across Newbridge Fields, but unfortunately for Ammanford the sun made a reappearance and play eventually resumed.

The Bridgend batters did not have it all their own way, quickly losing both openers to opening bowler Owen Davies.

Davies removed a further wicket in a good spell of 3 for 15, but Thomas Cogbill (43no) and Luke Humphries (18) saw Bridgend safely home without further trouble inside 24 overs.

Next week, Ammanford welcome second placed Swansea to the Park, the memory of their 700+ run clash at St Helen’s still fresh in their minds.

Thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run

Ammanford thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run in a rain adjusted match at the Rec.

Batting first, Ammanford reached 132 all out, thanks mainly to their captain Carl Griffiths (41) and Dafydd Wyn Jones (21).

Rain meant that Pontardawe’s reply was restricted to just 16 overs, during which they had to score 53 runs.

They came very close, but two wickets each from Oliver Pallot and Iwan Matthews interrupted their progress and they fell short by a single run, finishing on 51 for 5.

The victory moved Ammanford into the top half of SWCA’s Division 6.

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