Rachel Taylor has made history by becoming the first female coach of a Welsh rugby club playing in the national league. The former Wales captain has crossed the gender divide to take charge of a men’s team at Colwyn Bay RFC – the club’s first female appointment in their 95-year history. Taylor, who won 67 caps and also captained the Barbarians women’s team against the Army last autumn, is a full-time rugby coordinator for the Welsh Rugby Union.
Wayne Pivac is poised to be confirmed as Warren Gatland’s successor as Wales coach. Pivac has been a long-standing favourite to take over from his fellow New Zealander after next year’s World Cup, having moved ahead of another Kiwi, Dave Rennie. But the Welsh Rugby Union have called a press conference for Monday afternoon, where it is anticipated Pivac will be unveiled as the man to replace Gatland in just over a year.
There was some great middle distance running at the 71st Welsh School’s Athletics Championships in Cardiff, with north Walian Samia Jones taking pride of place. Jones set a Welsh record as she eclipsed fellow north Walian Cari Hughes’ 2013 mark of 4.33.33 in the Junior Girls 1500 metres. The Syr Hugh Owen pupil also wrote Team Wales skipper Non Stanford out of the record books as she bettered her 15-year-old championship best performance of 4.35.61 as she strode to victory in 4:33.15. Her incredible solo effort saw her finish 26 seconds clear of Radyr’s Alannah Hill. There was also a championship best performance in the Junior Boys 1500 as Jacob Reynolds just managed to crack elder brother Ben’s winning time last year as the Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni star picked up his latest title in 14:13.94, beating Ben’s winning time of 4:14.18 last year.
Cory Allen is desperately trying to shed some of his “15-a-side puppy fat” in order to get ready for the World Cup Sevens in San Francisco later this month. The Ospreys centre, who marked his debut in the 15-a-side World Cup with a hat-trick in Wales’ win over Uruguay in 2015, has joined former Cardiff Blues team-mate Lloyd Williams and Dragons wing Jared Rosser in dropping down to the small-sided game to boost Welsh chances in the USA. Allen was thrown in at the deep end this week in the third round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens tournament in Exeter, but stood up to the test by helping Wales to top their pool with wins over Portugal, Germany and Spain on Day 1.
Valley Cougars extended their lead at the top of the Welsh Premier League table after a remarkable comeback at Torfaen Tigers. Attacking uphill in the second half, the Cougars scored 24 unanswered points after being 24-14 down early in the second half.
Geraint Thomas emerged unscathed from a ‘bonkers’ opening stage of the Tour de France. The Cardiff-born rider finished in the same time as the stage winner as Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome made a nightmare start.
Chaz Davies made a storming start to the World Superbikes race in Italy to grab another podium finish. The Knighton-born rider blasted from seventh on the grid at Misano to fourth when the lights went out.
Melissa Courtney followed up her 5,000m silver medal at the British Championships last weekend with an appearance at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting. Courtney displayed her versatility across the distances by taking part in a world class 1500m featuring the likes of world and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya and former world indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan.
Welsh athlete Ben Thomas booked his place in the 2000m steeplechase final in dramatic fashion at the European Under-18 Athletics Championships in Hungary. The Ysgol Y Strade, Llanelli, pupil was pushed into a barrier during some jostling early on in the race and came to a complete halt.