When Wales meet Italy in Llanelli on Saturday, it will be for the less than cherished title of fifth-place play-off winners of the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup. If that title doesn’t sound too grand then it’s because Wales’ result have not been either, during the fractured year of 2020. The corresponding Six Nations match back in February saw Wales head coach Wayne Pivac begin his reign as Warren Gatland’s successor on a winning note.
Alex Smithies insists he is focussed on winning against his former club Huddersfield Town tonight and any nostalgia can wait. The Cardiff City goalkeeper spent eight years with the Yorkshire club, playing in 274 matches before moving on to QPR and then the Bluebirds. Smithies left Huddersfield in 2015 but says: “It’s always nice to play your old clubs, you always want to beat them.
Wales' world champ Lauren Price will again launch her bid for Olympic glory in London next April. The Boxing Road to Tokyo European Olympic Qualifying event has been rescheduled for April 22-26 at the Copper Box Arena.
Dewi Lake has been tipped as the Wales hooker of the future but only if he improves his throwing in at the line-out. The former Wales Under 20s captain has been in red hot form for the Ospreys recently with his dynamic ball-carrying and raw physicality catching the eye, despite their struggles in the Guinness Pro 14. In the absence of veteran hooker Ken Owens, both Ryan Elias and Elliot Dee have struggled to fully convince for Wales in this autumn’s Nations Cup.
Jamie Lewis can end a difficult year on a high after producing a superb display to qualify for the World Championships. The Carmarthen darter took tie out of the PDC Tour this year for personal reasons but has bagged one of the final six spots along with fellow Welshman Nick Kenny.
Neil Harris fears Wales' football league clubs will be left behind both on and off the field if they will not be allowed to have fans at home matches like clubs in England. Wales first minister Mark Drakeford had announced the country will return to lockdown starting on Friday with the situation to be reviewed on December 17.
Jess Fishlock reckons Wales' next generation of footballers can be the best yet - and she wants to be part of it. The 33-year-old is set to win her 120th cap when Wales end their UEFA Women's Euro2022 qualifying campaign against Belarus at Newport's Rodney Parade on Tuesday (KO 7.10pm).
Scott Quinnell believes Wales rediscovered some of their doggedness against England last weekend – but reckons they still lack bite. The former Wales and Lions No.8 was encouraged by aspects of the 24-13 defeat in Llanelli, but argues there is a soft streak running through Wayne Pivac’s team that needs to be hardened up. “Sometimes I look at Wales and I think everybody is just a bit too nice,” said Quinnell.
Sheyi Ojo believes Cardiff City can use their emphatic 4-0 victory over Luton as the launch pad to get themselves back into the race for promotion. The Liverpool loan player scored the last of the Bluebirds’ goals in a re-freshened line-up who have lifted the club to 14th place in the Championship table to ease some of the pressure on manager Neil Harris. There is still a seven point gap between Cardiff and the play-off places, and 10 points between Harris’s side and the automatic promotion spots, but Ojo – whose team host Huddersfield in another home match on Tuesday - says: “We want to get promoted. That’s the reason we’re all fighting.
Gerwyn Price saw his hopes of winning the Ladbrokes Players Championships Finals dashed after a 11-8 semi-final defeat to defending champ Michael van Gerwen. The 35-year-old looked to have a good chance of avenging last year's defeat in the final to the Dutch darter after taking an 8-6 lead at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.
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