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Game changers appointed

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(L-R): WRU game changers Lauren Thomas, Dave Roberts and Katy Evans

THREE individuals have been appointed to radically increase and improve rugby opportunities across the grassroots end of the game for both women and girls.

The aptly named ‘game changers’ for North Wales, South East and South West Wales will work with every area of the WRU rugby department, along with clubs, schools and hub officers, to increase the number of women and girls regularly involved in Welsh rugby – and improve the rugby products on offer for the Welsh female population who want to take part in the national game.

UsGirls Project of the Year Award winner Lauren Thomas takes up the West Wales role, former Welsh Gymnastics South East Wales Club Development Officer Katy Evans has landed the East Wales position and former Newtown school club hub officer Dave Roberts has been appointed to make a difference for women and girls in the North Wales Development Region.

WRU Women and Girls manager Caroline Spanton said: “These three high calibre individuals will have the challenge of taking women and girls rugby participation in Wales to the next level. We know there is huge demand for rugby by women and girls from the success of the first season of cluster centres, when participation levels doubled but we also know there is massive scope to become one of, if not the top female participation sport in Wales.

“There is a blank canvas for the game changers in many ways and the sky is the limit in terms of where the roles take us as a national sport. We will need to make some brave decisions to reach our aspirations of making it the norm for women and girls to be involved in rugby but with this team now on board, I know we can do this.”

WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones added: “It is a strategic priority for us as a Union to become more attractive to women and girls and to remove barriers to enable anyone to participate.

“Our purpose is to enable more people to be involved in rugby more often, with more enjoyment and more success and it is therefore vital to invest in people whose job and sole focus will be to make this a firm reality. We all need to work together with the game changers to ensure we offer various forms of the game and a way of delivering rugby which appeals to women and girls of all ages.”

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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Sport

Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before

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A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.

NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.

Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”

NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.

A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.

There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.

During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.

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