Postponements, prices and plastic – what’s the state of pitches in Wales? With the winter bringing the state of our sports pitches in to ever sharper focus, Graham Thomas and Paul Batcup provide a snapshot of the current picture in Wales. Anyone familiar with playing community football or rugby at this time of year will know the feeling. The rain falls, the wind howls, and as you peer through your living room window to assess the conditions for the weekend game, your phone pings with a message: “postponed – see you next week.”
Mike Ruddock insists Toby Booth convinced the Ospreys players he was the man to take the region out of its desperate slump. The current Harlequins assistant coach will take in charge at the Liberty Stadium for the start of the 2020/21 season after their long search for a replacement to sacked Allen Clarke came to an end. Ruddock – hired as performance director earlier this season – has revealed that senior Ospreys players were involved in the assessment process and gave their thumbs-up that Booth was the man for the job.
Neil Harris admitted Cardiff City’s play-off hopes have taken a nose-dive after a defeat to Nottingham Forest which ended with Callum Paterson and Leandro Bacuna literally at each other’s throats. The Bluebirds boss insisted there were no serious issues between the pair who clashed at the end of the 1-0 defeat and had to be pulled apart by teammates. Tiago Silva scored the only goal of the game as Harris’ side suffered his first Championship defeat at home since he took over from Neil Warnock in mid-November. The result leaves the Bluebirds six point
The Celtic Dragons began their Vitality Netball Superleague campaign with an agonizing, but encouraging 44-43 defeat to Surrey Storm at the weekend. But despite a huge turnaround in players, former Dragon Suzy Drane tells Graham Thomas she feels optimistic about this season. The Celtic Dragons can overcome the loss of key players and prove themselves a surprise package in netball’s Superleague this season – according to the woman who was once their heartbeat. Suzy Drane – a key player for the Dragons for over a decade and a Wales legend who reached the 100-cap mark last season – believes the team’s youngsters can rise to the challenge created by major change at the club over the past few months.
Hal Robson-Kanu has paid thanks to Slaven Bilic for making him a recall option for Wales again at this year’s Euro 2020 finals. The 30-year-old striker has become the central figure in West Brom’s revitalised promotion surge and underlined his influence for the Championship leaders with two goals in their 3-0 victory at Bristol City at the weekend. The Baggies are now nine points clear of third-placed Fulham after going seven matches without a win at the turn of the year.
Neil Harris has told his Cardiff City players to show they are “serious” about promotion as they begin life without Lee Tomlin on Tuesday night. The Bluebirds manager is demanding a reaction from his side who were beaten 2-0 at Stoke City last weekend, a result which stalled their play-off surge and allowed Swansea City to climb back above them in the Championship. With 12 matches of the season left, Cardiff are six points adrift of the play-off places, giving the visit of fifth-placed Forest a critical feel in the eyes of Harris.
Jeremiah Azu was involved in a dramatic 60m final at the England Athletics age group championships in Sheffield at the weekend. The Cardiff teenager got off to a relatively slow start, but soon got into his stride to challenge Liverpool’s Henry Nwoke for the title with a late dip for the line in a desperately close finish. The commentators initially called Azu as the winner, but it soon became evident no-one could be certain whether the Welshman had retained his title or if Nwoke had just held on to earn the crown.
Mike Ruddock could extend a month-long stint as a consultant to the Ospreys, but he is unlikely to fill the vacant head coach role at the region. The former Wales Grand Slam-winning coach starts work this morning at the troubled region, where he has agreed to oversee a review of... Read More
Warren Gatland will walk onto the Principality Stadium pitch before today’s game against Ireland for the final time as Wales coach. Wales supporters, both casual and obsessive, will be sad to see him go, but so will a wider coaching fraternity, says Graham Thomas. It’s not just rugby in Wales... Read More
Matthew Maynard will be at the helm again for Glamorgan this season after confirmation last week that he will hold the coaching reins for the forthcoming season. Alun Rhys Chivers spoke to him about his aims and ambitions in his second spell in charge. After his appointment as Glamorgan’s interim head... Read More
Dragons To Appoint "World Class" Coach . . . But On A Temporary Basis As Jim Mallinder And Andy Robinson Look On
The Dragons are set to appoint “a world class” coach to replace Bernard Jackman, who was officially removed from his post on Monday. A new man is due to be announced as soon as the beginning of next week and I understand talks are already well advanced with Jackman's successor... Read More
Brad Mooar has said he feels “humbled” to have been offered the Scarlets head coach’s job in succession to Wayne Pivac. Currently assistant coach at the Crusaders in New Zealand, Mooar will succeed Pivac ahead of the 2019-20 season when the present Scarlets chief take over with Wales from Warren... Read More
Former Wales prop Rhys Thomas is back in rugby, the battery-charged coach at Newport High School Old Boys. Peter Jackson speaks to a man who has, literally, given his heart to the game and overcome all the odds. Rhys Thomas began the season waiting for a heart transplant at the... Read More