JONATHAN Davies will captain Wales for the first time on Saturday (Feb 9) as he leads his country against Italy in Rome (KO 16.45 GMT).
Davies will win his 70th cap at Stadio Olimpico and becomes Wales’ 137th captain.
He will line up in midfield alongside Owen Watkin with Dan Biggar and Aled Davies named at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.
Liam Williams and Josh Adams, who both started in Paris last week, are joined by Jonah Holmes in the back-three with the latter making his first GUINNESS Six Nations appearance.
In the pack Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Samson Lee form a new look front-row with Jake Ball coming into the second-row alongside Adam Beard.
In the back-row Josh Navidi moves to No. 8, Aaron Wainwright starts at blindside flanker and Thomas Young makes his first Six Nations appearance on the openside.
“We have made a number of changes this weekend but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
“We have made a similar number of changes to what we did last year, but it is all about opportunity for these players.
“We have had a squad of 31 training together, replicating the Rugby World Cup and it is important they get game-time.
“It is a great opportunity for Jon (Davies) as captain. He has a huge amount of experience, is a great leader and it is a great honour for him to lead his country.
“Italy will be hurting after last weekend but they are a different proposition in Rome. They are an experienced team themselves and they will be looking to put things right on the pitch after their opening defeat.”
Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis are the front-row replacements on the bench with Alun Wyn Jones and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Gareth Anscombe and Hallam Amos provide Wales’ backline cover.
Wales Team To Play Italy (Saturday, February 9, KO 16.45 GMT – Live ITV & S4C)
- Liam Williams (52 Caps), 14. Jonah Holmes (1 Cap), 13. Jonathan Davies (69 Caps) (Capt), 12. Owen Watkin (9 Caps), 11. Josh Adams (7 Caps), 10. Dan Biggar (66 Caps), 9. Aled Davies (12 Caps), 1. Nicky Smith (24 Caps), 2. Elliot Dee (14 Caps), 3. Samson Lee (39 Caps), 4. Jake Ball (29 Caps), 5. Adam Beard (9 Caps), 6. Aaron Wainwright (4 Caps), 7. Thomas Young (2 Caps), 8. Josh Navidi (12 Caps).
Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias (6 Caps), 17. Wyn Jones (11 Caps), 18. Dillon Lewis (8 Caps), 19 Alun Wyn Jones (121 Caps), 20. Ross Moriarty (27 Caps), 21. Gareth Davies (37 Caps), 22. Gareth Anscombe (22 Caps), 23. Hallam Amos (18 Caps)
Cwmamman United Juniors host end of season event
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.”
Depleted Ammanford beaten by seven wickets
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.
Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay to visit Carmarthenshire
JOIN in the excitement as Carmarthenshire welcomes the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay on Friday, July 1.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 until August 8 and the Queen’s Baton Relay is currently travelling across the Commonwealth in an epic journey to all 72 nations and territories.
The journey brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Games.
The Queen’s Baton will arrive in Anglesey on June 29 as part of its five-day tour across Wales and will travel down the country and across South Wales providing the opportunity for communities to experience the excitement for Birmingham 2022, as the 11 days of showstopping sport nears ever closer.
A busy schedule of activities and events are planned and hundreds of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through Wales.
More than 150 schoolchildren will be at Pembrey Country Park on the afternoon of July 1 to welcome the Baton to Carmarthenshire along with Council Chairman Cllr Rob Evans, before being transported via toboggan, skis, bike and beach wheelchair to Cefn Sidan beach and into the safe hands of the RLNI who will take the Baton by boat to Burry Port Harbour.
The Baton will arrive at Burry Port Harbour at around 3.20pm to be handed to the Silver and Gold Sports Young Ambassadors from Carmarthenshire’s secondary schools who will take it in turns to run and cycle just over three miles along the Millennium Coastal Path arriving in North Dock in Llanelli at 4.15pm.
Here the Baton will be welcomed by Council Leader Cllr Darren Price along with a number of inspiring Carmarthenshire athletes who will be representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
Residents are being encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and embrace the arrival of the Baton, with a range of activities taking place at North Dock, organised by the council’s Actif sports and leisure team.
The fun will go on throughout the afternoon until 7pm with various activities to promote health and wellbeing including a junior aquathon, stand-up paddleboarding, aquafit classes, spin classes and beach-lifesaving sessions.
Council Leader Cllr Darren Price said: “We look forward to welcoming the Queen’s Baton Relay to Carmarthenshire and I am sure local communities will join in the celebrations as the Baton travels from Pembrey Country Park to Llanelli’s North Dock.
“It is guaranteed to be an exciting day, especially with the Baton travelling to Burry Port Harbour by boat and then on to North Dock where there will a host of sporting activities to take part in.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in organising such a momentous day for Carmarthenshire and its residents, again showcasing our beautiful county and what it has to offer to the world.”
Further information, including the timetable for the Queen’s Baton Relay in Carmarthenshire, can be found on the council website newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales
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