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Looking ahead to the RBS Six Nations

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Gareth Charles: ‘I’m looking forward to this year’s Six Nations more than usual’

WITH THE BRITISH and Irish Lions touring New Zealand in 2017, there is more excitement than ever surrounding this year’s RBS Six Nations, according to Clwb Rygbi Rhyngwladol commentator Gareth Charles.

S4C is the only broadcaster showing every Wales match in the RBS Six Nations this year, and the experienced commentator is a key member of the presentation team. Gareth, who comes from Pont-Henri in the Gwendraeth Valley, will be accompanied by former Wales captain Gwyn Jones in the commentary box, while former international players Shane Williams, Andrew Coombs, Dafydd Jones, Nicky Robinson and Deiniol Jones will join presenter Gareth Rhys Owen during the Championship.

S4C will also be showing two of Wales Under 20s’ matches live, as well as the women’s team match against Ireland. Highlights of the women’s team matches will also be shown on Clwb2 on Sunday nights.

With the Six Nations fast approaching, S4C recently caught up with Gareth to get his take on this year’s competition.

S4C: “With Gatland away with the Lions, Rob Howley taking his place and Alun-Wyn Jones taking over the captaincy from Sam Warburton, the Wales team is going through a transitional period. How will this affect them in the RBS Six Nations?”

Gareth Charles: “There’s a lot of pressure on Wales and Rob Howley to change to a more open style of rugby. With Wales playing against Italy in the first game and with bonus points being introduced this year, there’s pressure to get off to a good start – even though, traditionally, Wales start slowly every year.”

S4C: “Who are the favourites to win this year?”

GC: “I’d say England. The progress they’ve made under Eddie Jones is phenomenal. They play good rugby and they have so much depth. But Ireland aren’t far behind after their historic recent win over the All Blacks, so they will certainly be a threat to England.”

S4C: “Which players are you looking forward to seeing this year?”

GC: “For Wales, Taulupe Faletau, on his day, is certainly one of the best players in the world. England have Maro Itoje in the second row and Jonathan Joseph in centre, who always creates problems for Wales. Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg always have a big influence for Scotland too. It’s a Lions’ year, so I think that will bring out the best in everyone.”

S4C: “Considering all these new factors – the Lions and bonus points – how much are you looking forward to this year’s competition?”

GC: “ I’m looking forward to this year’s Six Nations more than usual. I’m looking forward to the women’s competition and seeing how they get on at their new home, Cardiff Arms Park, and I will be commentating on their match against Ireland. I’ll also be commentating on the Under 20s matches, and there is always a good atmosphere at Eirias Park for those games. Although I have to say that I’m also looking forward to following the men’s team to Rome and Paris.”

S4C: “Which Five Nations or Six Nations memories stand out in your mind?”

GC: “Obviously the match when Scott Gibbs scored that unforgettable try in Wembley will stay with me forever. The game where we put 30 points on England in Cardiff, in 2013, was also a fantastic occasion. It seems that victories over England are the ones that stand out the most. Of course, the other match I remember fondly is the win against Ireland which secured the Grand Slam in Cardiff, in 2005, under Mike Ruddock. I’d never seen such crowds of people in the city and it was a brilliant day.”

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Boxer set to compete in Germany

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Return: Ben Rees-Davies returns to Germany this weekend

CARDIGAN light-welterweight boxer Ben Rees-Davies returns to the scene of his greatest performance this week (Oct 19-22) when he competes in the prestigious Eindhoven Box Cup in Germany.

Seventeen months ago, the talented 25-year-old acquitted himself superbly by winning a bronze medal in a tournament which invariably draws some of the finest amateurs in Europe and the world.

Rees-Davies – a lance corporal in the Royal Welsh Regiment – eventually lost in the semi-finals to Russian number one Arman Zakaryan, the 2015 European champion and an Olympic qualifier.

A series of injuries mean that the former Cardigan ABC man has not boxed since losing in the Welsh Championships quarter-finals in March.

But Rees-Davies says he is now fully fit, fuelled by the nagging belief he has never quite fulfilled his potential – and by the fact he may soon have to hang up his gloves.

“I’m entered into an 18-man strong group with boxers from all over the world, it’s a Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament so there will be a fantastic pedigree of boxers,” he told the Herald.

“I’ve had a few frustrating injuries since the Welsh Championships so I haven’t been active, but if anything it’s made me more hungry to get back in the ring and achieve big things this year.

“For me it’s a massive season, and it could be my last so I’m aiming to achieve as much as I can and show my true potential once and for all.”

Rees-Davies said the time was approaching when he would have to focus wholeheartedly on his Army career.

He explained: “I want to progress with promotion. I love boxing with all my heart, but I have to think of my career also.”

He said he was ‘eternally grateful’ to long-time friend Anthony Studley, of Hair Lounge 4 Men in Cardigan – himself a former Cardigan ABC boxer – for helping him with funding.

“I massively appreciate help from him and he’s a credit to the town,” he said.

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Aber knocked out by Reds

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Battle: Aberaeron and Llanelli players go for the ball​

Aberaeron • 1
Llanelli Town • 6
JD Welsh Cup

LLANELLI T​OWN proved too strong for Aberaeron ​last Saturday (Oct 7), as they were knocked out of the JD Welsh Cup by their Welsh League Division 1 opponents.

With the pitch looking immaculate the scene was set for a memorable cup tie but unfortunately that dream only lasted five minutes.

Aberaeron, who have regularly conceded easy goals from lost possession​,​ were left in no doubt that it should be safety first.

A cleared defensive header from an early corner for Llanelli should have been dealt with but possession was lost and a quick cross was easily headed in to the net.

Before Aberaeron could settle, Llanelli’s star player Lee Trundle beat three players to give himself a sight on goal and he thundered an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.

Aberaeron woke up and Matty Davies was twice through on goal but no end product. Llanelli were passing well and Lee Trundle found himself one on one against Sion Clark. He turned cleverly leaving the defender in his wake and was unceremoniously upended for a clear penalty. Trundle drove it hard to the keeper’s left for number three.

Once more Aberaeron came in to the game, but passes were awry and often intercepted. A long clearance from Llanelli was not caught by Edwards, the Aberaeron keeper and the ball was easily tapped in to an empty net​.​

The second half was an attempt at a pride salvaging operation and Aberaeron gave a good account of themselves without finding the opponents net.

Trundle was kept at bay for the majority of the half but his trickery once more led to him being fouled in the box and he, once more, slammed the ball to the keeper’s left for five nil.

Aberaeron did get a consolation goal from the penalty spot from Matty Davies before another calamitous defending error gave Llanelli a sixth.

The score did not truly reflect the game but it reflects the ruthlessness of an ex professional striker who, clearly writes his own headlines- quite deservedly.

For Aberaeron, these are worrying times and the next three fixtures are ‘must wins’.

If Aberaeron cannot eradicate the problem of losing simple possession then it’s going to a long and very difficult season.

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Aber climb off the bottom

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Chance: Ryan Wade comes close with a chance for Aber

Aberystwyth Town • 0
Barry Town • 0

ABERYSTWYTH TOWN earned themselves a point to climb off the bottom of the JD Welsh Premier League table last Saturday afternoon (Oct 7), as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Barry Town United at Park Avenue.

Both sides missed good opportunities to win the game in the second half, but the game ended in stalemate as both managers settled for a point apiece.

Aber manager Nev Powell made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s Nathaniel MG Cup defeat to Airbus UK Broughton, with John Owen replacing Cledan Davies, which meant Mathew Jones started at left back for the first time in his Black and Greens’ career.

Both sides started the game cautiously, with the game lacking any real rhythm through the first 15 minutes. Barry came closest to opening the scoring on 16 minutes, as Chris Mullock somehow pulled off an instinctive point-blank save from Kayne Mclaggon’s close range shot.

Mclaggon was forced off through injury shortly afterwards, and Macauley Southam fired a long-range effort over the bar for the visitors.

Aber continued to struggle to get any threatening attacking play going, with Ryan Wade shooting well wide of the post on separate occasions.

The half time whistle could not come soon enough for the 233 spectators at Park Avenue.

The first 15 minutes of the second half again proved to be rather uninspiring for the neutrals, as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances.

On 60 minutes, Aber’s midfield maestro Malcolm Melvin, and soon after striker Craig Hobson were introduced in place of Ryan Wollacott and Joe Phillips, with manager Nev Powell looking for some fresh impetus from his side.

Aber began to slowly crank up the pressure on the visitors’ rear guard, as Ryan Wade shot straight at Barry keeper Mike Lewis, before Hobson almost converted an in-swinging Ashley Young free kick.

Barry themselves continues to look dangerous on the counter attack with the pace of wide men Tyrrell Webbe and Drew Fahiya, but on 87 minutes Aber again came close to the breakthrough as Hobson headed Wade’s cross into the side-netting.

Aber looked for one last chance as the game headed into three minutes of added time, and they very nearly found the winner in the dying seconds as right back Declan Walker brought the ball down from the sky and fired a low shot towards goal, only for it to hit the outside of the post.

This was another occasion where Aber have to settle for a point when it could so easily have been three, but manager Nev Powell will take encouragement from the organisation and defensive qualities his side showed today, keeping their first clean sheet in the league this season.

Town now turn their attentions to their next JD Welsh Premier League fixture away to Llandudno, on Saturday (Oct 14).

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