The Rugby World Cup kicks off exactly a year tomorrow in Japan, where Wales will be among a number of countries aiming to seize the crown from New Zealand. The All Blacks’ dominance has been so convincing over the last 12 months, few people predicted their recent shock to home defeat to South Africa? Are there cracks in the machine? Is this the start of a year’s decline that can provide hope to the likes of Wales? It’s more complicated, says Harri Morgan. For us outsiders, it is easy to pass off a rare All Black defeat as a one off. An anomaly. Like getting a B in religious studies when you’re rocking A’s galore in the subjects that matter. New Zealand will bounce back. It would take a brave punter to back their opponents next week, or the week after. Bugger it, you’re brave if you ever wager against the world champions.
Welsh community clubs have voted to increase the number of junior age categories in the 2019 domestic competition following a successful 2018 season and growing confidence in the sport in South Wales. For the last few years, WRL have run successful leagues at under 13, 15 and 17 levels. The clubs have now voted to run sides at under 12, 14, 16 and 19 levels for 2019, putting the latter two categories into the same age range as the country’s age-grade international sides.
Ethan Ampadu has signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea and pledged to work hard to become a first team regular. The Wales teenager – who delivered a sublime man-of-the-match performance in his country’s 4-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland earlier this month – has agreed a new deal just a week after turning 18. That virtuoso display earned the praise of Wales manager Ryan Giggs, who predicted the teenager would become a "magnificent player".
Swansea City’s unbeaten away record was ended by “a gift from heaven” according to Stoke City manager Gary Rowett. The Swans lost 1-0 on Tuesday night to drop to 10th in the Championship table, but the only goal of the game should have been ruled out by referee Paul Tierney. Joe Allen claimed it against his old club but the Wales midfielder was clearly offside when he scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes after half-time.
Charlotte Carey and Callum Evans will continue their European Championship campaign in Alicante on Wednesday after both produced impressive displays on the opening day. Carey, seeded 39, began the tournament with a 4-0 whitewash of Scotland's Rebecca Plaistow in the Group 7 game of the women's singles.
Penarth Hockey Club moved a step closer to readiness for the impending Verde Recreo league campaign, with three teams in action last weekend. 1st XI @ Wotton-under-Edge tournament A busy weekend for Penarth’s senior team culminated in a maiden appearance at Wotton-under-Edge’s four-team pre-season tournament on Sunday. Having already faced off against Cardiff University on Saturday afternoon, the Bears had to cram three games into an away day in the Cotswolds, but knew that the standard of the opposition would again be good preparation for their first season in the Premiership.
Celtic Dragons have extended their links with Cardiff Met University by using their facilities as their home training base for the new Vitality Netball Super League season. The Dragons played their final home fixture of last season at the National Indoor Athletics Centre at Cyncoed, going down to the Sirens by 59-37. Now they will be able to prepare for the new season under new head coach Tania Hoffman in world-class surroundings.
Challenge Wales has become the largest sailing boat in Wales to join the RYA’s Sailability scheme and offer opportunities for people with a disability. Sailability has helped more than 53,000 young people and adults with disabilities to try sailing and take part regularly, mastering the skills and confidence for a lifetime on the water.
More than 50 young sailors took to the water for the South and West Wales Acord Llangorse OnBoard Regatta. There was a good turnout through the All Afloat scheme, with many travelling from Pembrokeshire for their first major competition, showing the sailing charity launched this summer is already having an impact.
Stevie Williams will make his eagerly-awaited Bahrain Merida debut in two Italian races as he takes the next step towards competing in a Grand Tour. The 22-year-old will line-up at the Giro della Toscana – Memorial Alfredo Martini on Wednesday (September 19) before racing at the Coppa Sabatini – Gran Premio Città di Peccioli the following day.
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