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Wales announce team to play France

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WALES kick off the 2019 GUINNESS Six Nations in Paris against France on Friday evening captained by Alun Wyn Jones, making his 49th appearance in the tournament.

Jones lines up in the second-row alongside fellow Osprey Adam Beard with Josh Navidi returning from injury to start in the back-row alongside British & Irish Lions Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.

In the front-row Rob Evans and Tomas Francis pack down alongside Ken Owens who becomes Wales’ most capped hooker, making his 61st appearance for his county.

Tomos Williams will make his first Six Nations appearance at scrum-half lining up alongside regional teammate Gareth Anscombe at fly-half.

Scarlets duo Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies continue their partnership in midfield with Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.

Wales, who finished second in the tournament in 2018, face France in Paris on Friday before travelling to Rome to play Italy the weekend after. Warren Gatland’s team is currently on a nine match winning streak and Wales’ head coach knows the importance of starting their campaign well.

“We are looking forward to kicking off the Six Nations and kicking off our 2019 campaign as a whole,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“We come into the game on an impressive run of results but we know how tough it will be to face France in Paris in the tournament opener.

“It will be a huge contest but we are excited going into it. We have a great deal of experience across the team and on the bench and we want to kick things off well on Friday.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee provide Wales’ front-row replacements with Dragons pair Cory Hill and Aaron Wainwright completing the forward contingent. The experience continues on the bench with Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar and Owen Watkin providing the backline cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY FRANCE:

(Friday, February 1, KO 21.00 Local, 20.00 UK – BBC ONE)

15. Liam Williams (51 Caps)

14. George North (79 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (68 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (11 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (6 Caps)

10. Gareth Anscombe (21 Caps)

9. Tomos Williams (6 Caps)

1. Rob Evans (31 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (60 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (36 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (8 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (120 Caps) (CAPT)

6. Josh Navidi (11 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (60 Caps)

8. Ross Moriarty (26 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (13 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (10 Caps)

18. Samson Lee (38 Caps)

19. Cory Hill (22 Caps)

20. Aaron Wainwright (3 Caps)

21. Gareth Davies (36 Caps)

22. Dan Biggar (65 Caps)

23. Owen Watkin (8 Caps)

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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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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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