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.
Ken Owens is backing the strength of shared experience to prove the decisive factor in Wales’ favour when they meet France in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final. The Wales hooker made his Test debut at the 2011 World Cup and is now one of the most experienced players in the squad... Read More
Language has always been important in sport. Major, multinational football clubs often mean dressing room conversations in different tongues, while national sides bond around something more singular. Wales’ women’s team recently announced many of their players would be brushing up on their Welsh language skills as they seek to gain... Read More
Ken Owens has warned Wales not to get suckered into a Fijian free-for-all when they face their next World Cup opponents. The Wales hooker insists Fiji possess “a lot of X-factor” and it would be a mistake to try and take them on at their own all-court handling game. Victory... Read More
Aaron Wainwright has made a big impact for Wales in recent months, but it has come as little surprise to those in the know at Cardiff Met. The Dragons player – who celebrates his 22nd birthday today – was on a familiar path to success as Kasey Rees discovered. As... Read More
Neil Jenkins insists Wales cannot wait to get their World Cup campaign underway after it emerged players were given a briefing on the pitfalls of betting 24 hours after Rob Howley had been sent home. Wales’ kicking coach Jenkins would not reveal details of a phone conversation he has had... Read More
Ken Owens insists he will only take extended interest in Wales’ No.1 ranking if it’s still there after the World Cup. The Wales hooker is clear his country’s new found status as the most in-form rugby team on the planet is no more than an indicator of what might be... Read More