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New head coach of RGC 1404

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FORMER Wales wing Mark Jones has been appointed as the new RGC 1404 head coach. 

The 47-times capped Scarlets legend, who was attack and skills coach for the West Wales region for five years, helping them reach the Guinness Pro12 play-offs for the first time in seven years, will lead the North Wales Development Region into the Principality Premiership when the new-look 16 team division kicks off next month.

Jones, who also carried out the role of interim attack coach for Wales under caretaker coach Rob Howley in 2013, gained head coach experience at Rotherham last season before following in the footsteps of Phil Davies, Chris Horsman, Damian McGrath and Clive Griffiths at Parc Eirias.

Jones said: “I’m excited to carry on the work of the previous RGC coaches and have the opportunity to develop even more talented youngsters from North Wales.

“It’s a big challenge, because the Principality Premiership will be a big step up, going up against experienced semi-professional and in some cases, professional regional players, but I hope I can help to make RGC an established Premiership side that can continue on its remarkable journey.”

Jones is conscious of the need to continue the good work with grassroots clubs in the region.

“It’s crucial we continue to work closely with the clubs. I came through the system as a player in Mid Wales so I understand the logistical challenges involved and hope we can continue to break down barriers to enable North Wales players to flourish.

“I’ve joined the set-up fairly late in pre-season but I hope to be able to put my stamp on the side over the next few months.

“I will be putting an emphasis on upskilling players so that they reach their full potential and play to the strengths of the group. I’d like to think I encourage a fast-paced, entertaining brand of rugby that’s enjoyable for both players and spectators, but that we will also be pragmatic when conditions dictate too, capable of winning a winter arm-wrestle!”

WRU Head of Rugby Performance, Geraint John, added: “It’s good to have Mark back in Welsh rugby and leading the next stage of RGC’s on-field development.

“It’s an exciting time for RGC with promotion into the revamped Principality Premiership, and Mark’s involvement will certainly add to that mix. He understands the semi-professional game in Wales, he understands the regional game and he understands North Wales rugby.”

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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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