The Scarlets have had the door slammed in their faces by European rugby bosses who will not permit any escape route from this weekend’s opening Heineken Champions Cup fixture. The Llanelli region had pleaded for a postponement of their Pool B clash at Bristol on Saturday because of the chaotic fall-out from their South Africa trip. Their coaches and players are still locked down in a Belfast hotel serving out their quarantine, which will not finish until Friday – just 24 hours before the match.
Jamie Paterson has insisted he is not a diver and he should not have been booked in Swansea City’s 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough. The Swans midfielder was shown a yellow card for simulation in the first-half of the weekend loss at the Riverside Stadium after tumbling under a challenge from Boro goalkeeper Luke Daniels. But Paterson is adamant that referee Andy Davies made the wrong call and that the Swans should have been awarded a penalty, instead.
By Steffan Thomas The walls inside Whitchurch High School are already lined with pictures of famous Welsh internationals but they need to find room for another. Alongside the photographs of the school’s most famous sons – Gareth Bale, Geraint Thomas and Sam Warburton – some space must be found for Christ Tshiunza following his Wales breakthrough in October and the prospect of more Test caps to come in the Six Nations in a couple of months’ time.
New Wales cap Bradley Roberts has admitted he has to move to Wales to continue his international career and the Dragons are working to offer him a deal. They face stiff competition from Cardiff, however, in trying to sign the Ulster hooker. Roberts’ contract with the Irish province runs out at the end of the season and the Welsh Rugby Union’s 60 cap selection policy means he will have to join a Welsh side if he is to extend his Test career into a second season.
Steve Morison has claimed Cardiff City delivered a “positive performance” despite another home defeat that has put them back in relegation trouble. The Bluebirds manager insisted there was not much wrong with his team’s display in their 3-2 reverse against Sheffield United, aside from Sean Morrison’s sending off which his namesake said had “killed off” his team’s hopes of a victory. It was Cardiff’s second defeat in three matches and leaves them just one place above the Championship relegation zone, although they have a five-point lead over Peterborough United, who also lost.
Georgia Evans is hoping to gain bragging rights over three of her Welsh international back row rivals when Saracens welcome table-topping Bristol Bears to the StoneX Stadium for the game of the season in the Allianz Premier 15s on Saturday. They won’t come any bigger than the top two unbeaten teams going head-to-head in a match that will hold much appeal for Wales coach Ioan Cunningham. Both teams have won their six league games and only one try bonus-point separates them.
Welsh National hopeful Truckers Lodge will appear at Chepstow this weekend in preparation for the big race in the calendar at the same venue at the end of the month. The Paul Nicholls-trained horse heads to Chepstow on Saturday for the Welsh Grand National Trial, live on Sky Sports Racing at 1.22pm. Truckers Lodge was second in the Welsh National in 2019 before going on to win the Midlands National last year,
Cardiff City manager Steve Morison has claimed no-one cares whether his team win at home or away, so long as the points are gathered. The Bluebirds return to the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, looking to build on their away victory at Luton Town last week, which gave Morison his third victory since he took over from Mick McCarthy. Two of those three wins have come away from home, with Morison’s home record so far showing one win against Huddersfield, but two defeats – to QPR and Hull City.