THE WELSH Rugby Union will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first recorded game of rugby union in Wales with a string of events across the summer and into the 2017 season that recognise the significance of community rugby in Wales and the role of the volunteers who contribute to it.
It will start with two initiatives this week. The first will be a search for Welsh rugby’s #FabXV, a social media campaign to identify the greatest rugby volunteers across Wales. The WRU is encouraging clubs, WRU members and the public to shine a light on the good work of rugby volunteers in their community by sending videos and pictures of their local community champions to the new community Twitter handle, @WRU_Community, with a brief explanation of why they deserve a place in Welsh rugby’s first Fab XV, using the hashtag #FabXV. As well as being acknowledged for their great work by the community they serve, nominees will automatically be put forward for selection into the WRU final Fab XV.
The 15 finalists will be invited to attend one of the autumn Under Armour Series international matches at Principality Stadium as the guest of the WRU in its community box. WRU Head of Rugby Operations, Julie Paterson said: “The 150th anniversary of the first recorded game of rugby is a significant milestone. It is an opportunity to recognise the importance of rugby in Welsh society and in the hearts and minds of the Welsh nation. Intrinsically linked to that is the work done by the army of volunteers that give up their time to deliver a vibrant grass roots community game and who play such a vital role in ensuring that rugby continues to thrive in Wales.
“FabXV is the first of our 150th anniversary initiatives aimed at doing just that. We want to recognise and celebrate the diversity and passion of Welsh rugby volunteers and their contribution to the game we all love. Anybody involved in the community game will know somebody who deserves to be recognised. A working mum who finds the time to coach her child’s minis rugby team, a club secretary that has given 30 years of service to their local club, a new young referee that embodies the spirit of rugby – its courage, its discipline and its humour. “All these people deserve acknowledgement. A thank you from the community they serve is often more than any of these unsung heroes would dare to expect.
We would like to give them a little bit more. As well as being publically acknowledged for their great work we’ll be picking a Fab XV an inviting them to watch an international match at Principality Stadium as the guest of the WRU.” The second initiative is the launch of a WRU Snapchat account, the social media messaging platform on which content remains accessible for just 24 hours. The new account will offer exclusive insights into different aspects of Welsh rugby from interviews with the national squad to profiles of rising stars of the game in a way that is accessible and relevant to young Welsh rugby fans. The move is part of a long term strategy to get more people, more often and with more enjoyment involved in rugby and ensure a strong future for the game in Wales. Anybody who would like to nominate a volunteer using the hashtag #FabXV can do so on Twitter via @ WRU_Community or by emailing their information to cluboperations@ wru.wales The Club Operations email can also provide information for people interested in becoming part of the community game in Wales as a volunteer – whether that be behind the scenes in the clubhouse, as an administrator, as a referee or elsewhere on the pitch as a coach or manager etc – and put people in touch with clubs in their local area.
Cardigan Golf Club Ladies Section raise funds for RNLI
EVERY year the Ladies Section at Cardigan Golf Club hold a competition dedicated to the RNLI, and this year they raised a magnificent £122 from donations made by the lady members.
Accepting the cheque on behalf of the RNLI was New Quay RNLI Station Mechanic Bernie Davies, “We would like to thank all the lady members of Cardigan Golf Club who donated to the RNLI. Their generosity is very much appreciated and enables our volunteers to continue saving lives at sea.”
Pam Perry the Lady Captain at Cardigan Golf Club added, “We were thrilled to raise over a £100 with our annual golf competition especially in difficult times.”
Swans grab last gasp play-off spot
WAYNE ROUTLEDGE’s last-gasp header saw Swansea City secure a play-off spot with a handsome away victory over 10-man Reading on a dramatic Wednesday night (July 22).
Steve Cooper’s side knew they had to win at the Madejski Stadium to have any hope of a top-six finish, and Rhian Brewster’s 10th goal of the season gave them an ideal start.
The sending off of Yakou Meite then gave the Swans a man advantage, but the Royals equalised before the half through a George Puscas penalty.
The Swans restored their lead through a classy finish from substitute Routledge, before Liam Cullen showed great composure to steer in his first goal for the club.
And when Routledge popped up at the death to complete his brace it put the Swans into the top six as Forest suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Stoke, meaning Swansea got into the play-offs on goal difference.
The Swans started on the front foot, with centurion Connor Roberts having particular joy down the right-hand flank.
Brewster then nearly threaded Conor Gallagher in on goal after fine work by Andre Ayew, before Roberts hit a strike into the ground and over the bar after Jake Bidwell had made the overlap on the opposite flank.
The hosts responded by having a good spell of possession, probing and asking a few questions of their own.
But the visitors hit the lead in the 16th minute through Brewster. The striker picked the ball up some 30 yards out and got the ball out of his feet before smashing a long-range drive that completely deceived Rafael in the Reading goal.
John Swift curled a free-kick over at the other end, while more good work by Roberts could not quite end with Bidwell getting on the end of a deep cross before Rafael made a hash of dealing with a Gallagher cross.
Swift headed straight at Erwin Mulder from a good counter on the half-hour mark, with Ayew quickly advancing up the field to work Rafael again.
Opportunities were coming at both ends, with Mulder called into action again as Meite took aim from the left side of the area.
Swansea were riding their luck a little and had a let-off when a sliced clearance landed on top of the bar.
Matt Grimes had a free-kick pushed away by Rafael before the home side were reduced to 10 men after Meite had pushed Mike van der Hoorn in the face after a tussle for the ball.
But the hosts made light of the numerical disadvantage by levelling after Bidwell was adjudged to have fouled Andy Rinomhota, with Puscas beating Mulder – who got a hand to the strike – from the spot.
However, the Swans should have led at the break. Ben Cabango’s shot was blocked and fell to Jay Fulton, but the Scot pulled his shot wide of the target.
Rafael pushed away an Ayew drive right on half-time, with Swansea frustrated that referee Stephen Martin did not award them a penalty of their own as Fulton went down under a challenge from Omar Richards.
With Cardiff winning and Nottingham Forest losing, Cooper knew goals were needed and he made two changes at the break.
Yan Dhanda came on for Fulton, while Routledge replaced van der Hoorn, and they were immediately on the front foot.
With Swansea committing so many players forward, Reading looked to sit deep and play on the break and they proved resolute as the visitors battled to find a way through.
Grimes curled a free-kick wide of the target and Gallagher also threatened from distance, but the hour mark came and went without any clear-cut chances to show for their dominance of possession and territory.
However, when they did craft a sight of goal they took the chance clinically. Grimes produced a lovely ball, and Routledge controlled superbly to loft the ball over Rafael and into the net.
Unfortunately for the Swans, that goal went in moments after Forest had equalised against Stoke, which appeared to put a sizeable dent in their playoff aspirations.
Nevertheless, Cooper’s side continued to search for more goals in the hope events in the East Midlands would turn back in their favour.
They so nearly made it 3-1 with 17 minutes to play as lovely link play from Rutledge and Bidwell ended with Ayew steering just wide.
The situation was changing all the time, and Stoke retook the lead at Forest to leave the door ajar for the Swans.
And, when Stoke scored a third at the City Ground and Cullen coolly fired home his first senior goal for the club with six minutes remaining, they suddenly only needed a goal to finish in the play-off places.
Grimes had a deflected shot tipped over but the Swans then got the goal they needed in stoppage time as Routledge popped up to nod in at the far post, with Stoke’s fourth goal putting the matter beyond doubt a few moments later to spark delighted celebrations among Cooper, his players and his staff.
Glamorgan launch new kit
GLAMORGAN Cricket has unveiled its new Vitality Blast playing kit for the 2020 season.
Designed by the Club’s official kit supplier, Masuri, alongside Glamorgan’s management, players and coaches, the brand-new Vitality Blast strip contains a subtle Welsh twist.
Fitting Glamorgan’s traditional colour schemes, the top is dark navy with a tonal dragon across the front – a nod to the old Glamorgan nickname and the Welsh identity – while a sharp yellow trim on the neck and sleeves frames the top.
The famous ‘Daff’ sits on the heart of the shirt, with MiPost’s strong Welsh brand centre-stage. Appearing on the collars are the logos of ‘Official Players Car Partner’, Mon Motors and Welsh company, Philtronics Solutions, with Discover Leeks on the right sleeve and SA Group on the back.
The famous Aston Martin logo features on both side of the Glamorgan T20 cap, as they continue their ongoing support of the club.
Head of Commercial, Huw Warren, said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Masuri throughout the design process and together developed an exciting new kit we’re sure our supporters will love with its strong connections with Wales.
“Our Masuri kits have always been hugely successful with players and fans alike and we look forward to continuing our commercial partnership with them.
“We can’t wait to see our players wearing the new kit when the Blast gets underway later this summer.”
Masuri CEO, Sam Miller, said: ‘’Once again it has been a pleasure working with the team at Glamorgan to bring this year’s kit to life, and we are looking forward to seeing it in use during the much anticipated Vitality Blast this year.’’
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