A PROPOSED merger between the Scarlets and Ospreys Rugby teams has caused anger amongst many fans.
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is currently looking at ways to ‘reset’ the regional game in Wales and one of its proposals would see two of the most successful Welsh regions come together to make way for a North Wales team to be introduced.
However, this has come in for strong criticism from many in the game with some saying it could alienate the fans.
Indeed, what would a new South West Wales team look like? Who would play for it? What ground would they play at?
A combination of over 14,000 fans attended the two most recent home games of the two regions, but could they really just change like that to support the new team?
The WRU seem keen to introduce the new North Wales team for the start of next season which doesn’t leave them much time to answer all of these questions and more.
For some it has been too much, Ospreys chairman Mike James resigned on Tuesday morning (Mar 5) citing the WRU’s ‘catastrophic mismanagement’ of efforts to overhaul the game.
In a statement he adds that the WRU’s ‘project reset’ had turned to ‘project inept’.
The Welsh Rugby Players association (WRPA) has also expressed its deep concerns on the plans and had called on the WRU to protect Welsh players.
Mr James’ resignation came at the start of a meeting of the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) which expected to make a comprehensive proposal.
Following lengthy discussions, the PRB released a statement in which they say that the comments from Mr James do not reconcile with discussions held prior to the meeting and say they are
‘united’ in its pursuit of what is best for rugby in Wales.
Ospreys have since backed the comments of its outgoing chairman and have gone on to say that they are ‘not’ on the verge of merging with the Scarlets.
The Scarlets have been approached for its views on the situation.
Only time will tell what will happen but it is already clear that the WRU are going to be met with a lot of opposition to its plans.
FC Carmarthen earn a point against Felinfoel
TWO late goals for FC Carmarthen earned them a point against Felinfoel on Saturday (Dec 4) as their game finished 2-2.
Felinfoel are yet to lose a game this season and it looked like they were on course for another win but goals in the 74th and 85th minutes of the game earned a point for the visitors.
Chris James had put the Division 1 leaders ahead in the first half as he scored from the penalty spot.
He then doubled Felinfoel’s lead on 58 minutes and they looked set to go on and earn their thirteenth win of the season.
FC Carmarthen had other ideas though and they pulled a goal back through Osian Thomas.
Thomas then completed the comeback five minutes from the end.
Both sides looked for a winner but were forced to settle for a point apiece.
On Saturday, December 11, Felinfoel are at home to Camford Sports while FC Carmarthen travel to Kidwelly Town.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
Amman United earn first win
AMMAN United claimed their first Division 3 West victory of the season with a hard-fought success on a bitingly cold afternoon at Penygroes.
Very little of note happened during the opening quarter as errors and knock-ons spoiled the flow.
Then, the visitors drew first blood on 20 minutes when, out of the blue, a well-worked move from a midfield break saw centre Steff Davies cut in to score under the posts, outside half Tom Caddell converting.
Amman had a strong wind at their backs in the first half, and with lock Jason Knell making some good yardage, they shaded the territory.
Penygroes were winning in the lineouts, but were squandering some good possession.
Try-scorer Davies limped off, to be replaced by Liam Poole, and, a wind-assisted Caddell long range penalty before halftime gave the Reds a 10-0 interval lead.
The boot of Tom Caddell stretched the lead after the restart to 13-0, but the home side were starting to get more joy in attack, prop Ben Jackson impressing with his workrate, and, after he was tackled short of the line, lock Dan Rees gathered and went over for the try, full back Nicholas Morris adding the conversion.
Caddell kept Amman’s score ticking along with another penalty, and, in the final quarter, the visitors brought on their very own “bomb squad” as Rhys Phillips, Harley Davies and Rhydian Jones entered the fray, with great effect.
With much more cohesion in attack, Jones impressed around the pitch particularly, and with some ten minutes left, full-back Joel Foster’s excellent work put the try on a plate for backrow man Jac Isaac to cross the line for a converted score.
George Clarke also featured with some telling Amman runs as they continued to press, Penygroes only threatening sporadically, full back Nicholas Morris the pick of their backs; but they lacked a real cutting edge to finish off their good work.
United’s win was rubber-stamped when scrum half Alex Williams gleefully divebombed over for a third Amman try with minutes left.
To their credit, the home side battled manfully to the end, and were rewarded with a try with the final move of the game as Rhys Gealey scored as the final whistle was blown.
Amman will be at Cwmamman Park on Saturday, December 11, when they entertain New Dock Stars.
Risca earn win over Ammanford
AMMANFORD travelled to Ystrad Mynach on Friday night (Dec 3) to face Risca United on their artificial pitch.
The Valley mist was slowly rolling across the sky and hovering just above the pitch. A healthy crowd sat in the large stand waited for the teams’ arrival.
Ammanford were in their green kit whilst Risca were in their usual black and white striped shirts.
The visitors got off to the perfect start with only ten minutes played when Ammanford captain Lee Trundle skilfully turned on the edge of the Risca penalty area and slotted the ball into the corner of the Risca net.
Both sides pressed each other but Ammanford’s lead lasted until minutes before half time when the home side were awarded a penalty.
Risca’s Leon Thomas duly despatched the spot kick into the Ammanford net to level it up at 1-1.
The second half saw both sides pressing for that second goal with no quarter given by either side which kept the referee busy in the production of several yellow cards.
It was Risca that made the breakthrough in the 68th minute of the game when their substitute Harvey Selway assisted team mate Leon Thomas to get his second goal of the game as he broke through the middle of the Ammanford defence and placed his shot past Ammanford keeper Craig Morris to give his side the lead.
Ammanford did their best to respond and Brett Enoch came the closest with a couple of attempts in the last ten minutes of the game.
It wasn’t enough for Ammanford as final whistle blew and it was Risca who celebrated the victory.
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