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WRU launches ambitious Disability Rugby Strategy

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THE Welsh Rugby Union has launched a Disability Rugby Strategy which aims to grow, develop and enhance opportunities for all communities to be an integral part of the national game.

This means broadening rugby’s appeal to ensure it is inclusive and engaging to all ages, genders, abilities and communities, removing any current and future barriers to participation.

The WRU aims to provide ‘positive rugby experiences’ for all, whilst contributing to improved health and well-being throughout Wales.

Objectives include:

  • Increased inclusive rugby opportunities for people with disabilities including Mixed Ability Rugby, Deaf Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby
  • Ensuring the community game is inclusive for disabled people
  • Ensure coaches, referees, WRU staff and wider rugby family are supported and upskilled to help them adopt a more inclusive approach

A key element of the strategy is the appointment of inspirational coach Darren Carew as Operational Lead for Disability Rugby.

Darren, who received life-changing leg and brain injuries when his armoured vehicle was hit by an IED in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, has already worked extensively as a WRU community coach around Wales. He has run a series of pilot WRU disability rugby programmes for children with special educational needs in schools, some of which have already led to the establishment of sustainable disability rugby ‘clubs’ outside school, such as DTagRugby in the Dragons region.

Now, as a full-time employee, he will be able to drive the implementation of the strategy which will include a widespread training programme in order that coaches, referees, hub officers and WRU staff around Wales are confident and inclusive in their approach within their everyday work in schools, clubs and other environments.

Darren will work with clubs, Disability Sport Wales and other partners to ensure there are opportunities for everyone in Wales to take part in some form of rugby. This includes increased opportunities to play Mixed Ability rugby, a form of the game which has brought huge benefits to individuals and their communities through teams such as the Llanelli Warriors and the Swansea Gladiators, along with the newly established Cardiff Chiefs.

There is also a commitment to provide additional support for other disability rugby groups such as Deaf Rugby and Wheelchair Rugby.

WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones said, “We know that participation in rugby boosts well-being, social integration and physical health. We want to give everyone the chance to benefit from being part of the rugby family and that means increasing the amount of quality disability rugby opportunities on offer but also helping to change perceptions so that our rugby communities are more inclusive to disabled people. We want to ensure everyone feels truly engaged in our clubs and has a sense of pride in the contribution they make.

“Darren represents the essence of our plan perfectly. He gives everyone he works with true belief in their abilities and what they can achieve, working out a way of adapting the game so that everyone can take part.”

Darren Carew added: “I’m really excited about this opportunity. From my background in the military, I’m used to making a difference and I know I can definitely make a difference in this role to the disabled community in Wales.

“As an injured soldier, adaptive sports gave me back a sense of purpose that I’d lost and coaching means I can pass that feeling on to others which is fantastic.

“Regardless of illness or injury, rugby is engrained in our national psyche, we all want to put on the jersey and be part of the game so to provide that to children and adults in Wales who perhaps haven’t previously had the opportunity is hugely rewarding.”

Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas added: “Participating in sport and physical activity brings a wide range of benefits to our health, wellbeing and personal development. Providing more accessible and inclusive opportunities to take part is key to ensuring such benefits can be felt by more people across Wales, whatever their circumstances and it was fantastic to be at the launch of the WRU’s Disability Strategy today, which further supports that goal.”

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Ammanford upset Penybont to reach MG Cup quarter finals

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Report by Ian Parfitt

AMMANFORD produced arguably the shock of the third round in the MG Nathaniel Cup with a 2-1 victory at Penybont, who currently sit third in the Cymru Premier League, on Tuesday night (Sept 20).

Penybont started the game well and looked dangerous with ex Ammanford player Kai Whitmore calling the shots.

Ammanford however were also playing some neat football themselves and this was quickly becoming a competitive contest.

Ammanford took the lead in the 28th minute when Brett Enoch took advantage of a moment of calamity in the Penybont defence to fire home.

As expected Penybont increased the pressure on the Ammanford goal in search of an equaliser but Ammanford held firm to go into the interval ahead.

Kyle Marsh in particular having a fine game in the Ammanford goal. Ammanford fans would have been expecting a long 45 minutes after the break but it only took a minute for Penybont to find the equaliser, Mael Davies scoring with a firm header.

Penybont were hungry for more goals and looked especially dangerous from the flanks. The Ammanford defence, who were superb throughout held firm under a barrage of high balls into the box.

Ammanford were also keen to get a second and looked dangerous on the counter attack, both Jordan Langley and Callum Silcox going agonisingly close to restoring the visitors’ lead.

The Ammanford defence continued to form a formidable wall at the back which Penybont were unable to breach.

This fantastic rearguard action was rewarded in the 81st minute when Callum Thomas scored what turned out to be the winner for Ammanford, running through on goal and producing a composed finish to slot the ball past Penybont keeper Alex Pennock.

Ammanford players continued to put their bodies on the line to preserve the lead, epitomised by Tom Pratt who took one on the head in the six yard box.

Lee Trundle spurned a glorious chance to make the game safe for Ammanford with a couple of minutes remaining but it mattered not as the final whistle produced jubilant scenes in the away camp.

Ammanford progress to the Fourth round on what was a glorious night for the club.

Photos by Lawrence Molloy
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Strong Ammanford performance seals Cup win over Whitland

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AMMANFORD got their Division 1 Cup campaign off to an excellent start on Saturday (Sept 17) as they beat Whitland 42-13.

Ammanford built up a 17-3 lead and increased that further to 8-29 before pulling away in the closing stages.

Geraint Jones scored a penalty for Whitland and unconverted tries from Gino Setaro and Lewis Gibby followed.

Captain Alex Davies was named as Ammanford’s man of the match as he lead his side to a bonus point win.

The scrum half was among the try scorers as were Morgan Plimmer, Rhodri Jones, Liam Smith, Carwyn Richards, Mathew Lemon and Tiaan Evans.

Ryan Williams added four conversions and one penalty for the visitors.

The next round of Cup fixtures is scheduled for October 15. Ammanford host Newcastle Emlyn while Whitland travel to Tondu.

Ammanford return to action in League 1 West Central on Saturday, September 24 as they host Birchgrove.

Whitland are also back in league action in League 1 West as they visit Pembroke.

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Howell’s strike takes the points for Cwm

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CWMAMMAN United earned their first three points of the season with an impressive all round performance as they overcame Cardiff Darconians through a sublime Gwion Howell finish at Grenig park on Saturday (Sept 17).

Cwm started on the front foot and their passing and movement was excellent and they twice came close early with Gwion Howell clipping the outside of the post while Sion Dafydd Williams pounced on a back pass but could just not quite get enough leverage on his attempt.

They then saw a 25th min goal by Williams ruled out for a tight offside. With Charlie Davies and Scott Jewell having strong games in the middle of the park Cwm looked the likeliest to score but there was a real scare when a defensive slip required a superb save from Kai Rees in the Cwm goal to keep it goalless.

Kyle Ashford and Keiran Richards continued to run hard at the Dracs defence causing problems but the first half remained goalless.

The strong second half push back that Cwm expected from the Cardiff side didn’t materialise and Cwm continued to have the better of the play. Grant Rees and Callum Dougal were strong at the heart of the defence while Leon Coucher and the ever threatening Cory Saunders were launching attacks from out wide.

Eventually the goal came when some neat interplay saw Howell with his back to goal and the ball at his feet. A superb turn moved the ball to one side and he then fired it across the keeper to the opposite corner..

Great celebrations before Cwm immediately settled determined to see this one through. With Davies continuing to push his team forward and subs Alex Giardelli and Harrison Thomas stretching the Dracs side Cwm saw it through without too much worry.

An excellent performance of which manager Paul Lewis said: “Great to get that first win with the boys who applied our team plan superbly today and they really deserved that result.”

Cwm now look forward to another challenge as they travel to play near neighbours Garden village on Friday evening (Sept 23).

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