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.
Steff Hughes will captain the Scarlets for the first Guinness Pro 14 fixture of the Brad Mooar era against Connacht this evening. The Scarlets are without 15 players who are on international duty at the World Cup in Japan but have selected a squad brimming with young Welsh talent for a... Read More
Warren Gatland has suggested Wales will be playing a team in boiling turmoil when Ireland arrive in Cardiff tomorrow for gas mark three on the four-notch hob of World Cup warm-ups. The Wales coach has always had a tempestuous relationship with Irish rugby and it is fitting in many ways... Read More
Welsh rugby’s merger bingo – that now pairs the Ospreys to combine with the Scarlets – will be discussed this evening by the four regions and the Welsh Rugby Union against a backdrop of outrage and suspicion. The proposal that was put to the staff of both west Wales regions... Read More
Ospreys coach Allen Clarke has claimed the threats to the region’s survival is undermining his team. Clarke watched his side fall apart on Saturday – thrashed 46-5 at Connacht, the Irish province least renowned for dishing out any thrashings. It is one thing to leak six tries against Leinster or... Read More
Owen Lane was been praised for scoring “an international wing’s finish” after his try helped lift the Cardiff Blues to within two points of the top three places in the Guinness Pro 14 Conference A. Lane – who also scored a notable try against Lyon last week – was left... Read More
The Ospreys have turned to teenager Harri Morgan and hope he will be inspired before his home town crowd when they host Connacht at Bridgend on Friday night. It will be the 18-year-old’s first full game after he made debut off the bench in the defeat to Worcester Warriors last... Read More