Aled Davies can take his rugby to new heights according to his new boss at Saracens, Mark McCall. The Wales scrum-half has left the Ospreys to join the London club, even though they have just been relegated from the Gallagher Premiership. The move will mean a halt to Davies’s Wales career as he was won 20 caps – 40 less than the 60 required to be eligible for national selection if a player is based outside of the four Welsh regions.
Fans in both football and rugby should be helping run their sports, according to a report from a leading think tank. Both sports should seek the influence of supporters groups in plotting the way ahead for a sustainable and responsible future, according to Onward and their new publication. The report, called A Sporting Chance, focuses on how professional football below Premier League level, cricket and the two codes of rugby are coping during the coronavirus pandemic.
New research suggests that lockdown has worsened the gap between active and inactive people in Wales, with those from more deprived backgrounds suffering the most. A survey carried out by Savanta ComRes on behalf of Sport Wales has found that although the overall levels of physical activity have not shifted significantly – 34% of Welsh adults say that they are doing more at this time than before the COVID-19 restrictions, while 33% say that they are doing less – there are noticeable variations within certain demographic groups. Among adults from higher socio-economic backgrounds, 39% say they are doing more activity and 32% are doing less, meaning that there has been a +7 percentage point increase in activity. However, for adults from lower socio-economic backgrounds, 29% are doing more and 33% are doing less, meaning that there has been a -4 percentage point decrease among this group.
Andy Morrison is hoping Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton get sent to cover his European adventure with Welsh champions Connah’s Quay Nomads – as pay back for 26 years ago. Morrison – whose team were crowned winners when the Welsh domestic season was halted last week – was a team-mate of the BBC’s punditry pair when they were together at Blackburn Rovers. The former defender - who will turn 50 in July, two weeks before Shearer does – was at Blackburn when they crashed out of the UEFA Cup in 1994 to Trelleborg, a bunch of Swedish part-timers.
It was meant to be a celebratory match, a feel-good occasion. And for 80 minutes it was. But when Barry John came off the pitch in 1972, he had decided something. He wouldn’t be going back on. Now, S4C have unearthed rare footage from that match which may offer some clues and pointers as Graham Thomas reports. Barry John’s shock decision to walk away from rugby at the age of just 27 left a nation stunned – but not his one-time young rival, Phil Bennett. Forty eight years on from one of the biggest sports stories of the 1970s, the dazzling genius of John – the player they called The King – remains accessible through YouTube clips or in the memories of those fortunate enough to see him play.
Elynor Backstedt – Wales’ most promising young cyclist – has suffered a huge setback after breaking her leg in a training accident on Sunday. The world championship junior bronze medallist, who has been in her debut World Tour season, suffered a spiral fracture of the tibia – her shinbone - in a crash. The injury is likely to require surgery, although her team - Trek-Segafredo – have not yet confirmed when that will take place.
Which Welsh sportsman has made the biggest impression overseas? John Charles in Turin? Ian Woosnam at Augusta? Colin Jackson in Stuttgart and Seville? Gareth Edwards on the rugby fields of New Zealand and South Africa? Or was it Jack Evans in the ice hockey stadia across North America? Owen Morgan has dug around and states the case for the man they called “Tex”. If I had been asked a month ago who I believed was the most influential sports person to hail from my native Amman Valley, three names would have sprung to mind. Global rugby superstars Gareth Edwards and Shane Williams would probably have vied for the title with former Wrexham, Everton, Swansea City and Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies putting in a valiant, but unsuccessful, bid on behalf of the round ball game.
Seven years ago this summer, Wales had the player voted the best youngster in the world in 2013. Sam Davies almost made it a double triumph at the world’s summit that year – but it wasn’t quite to be, as he tells Graham Thomas. Sam Davies admits he cried tears of frustration when the chance to crown Wales as world champions slipped through his fingers. The Wales and Dragons star – who broke back into the national squad earlier this year – welled up when he stepped forward to receive the 2013 Junior World Player of the Year award.
Dean Saunders was good enough for Wales, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Galatasaray. But 35 years ago this week, the striker who eventually scored 255 club career goals was dumped by Cardiff City after just four matches. Terry Phillips counts the cost of a missed opportunity. Dean Saunders failed to impress with Cardiff City under Alan Durban and left the Bluebirds after only four appearances. The Swansea-born hitman was on his way out at his home town club at the age of just 20. It was 1985 and Cardiff manager Durban could have had signed the striker for a very small fee.
Gavin Williams is planning to lead Merthyr Town on a Southern League promotion mission during 2020-21. Merthyr-born former Wales International Williams, a lifelong Cardiff City supporter, will again be working with one of the lowest squad budgets in the Southern Premier, but he believes the Martyrs can challenge near the top. The 2019-20 season was halted early because of the coronavirus pandemic and Williams said: “That was the strangest season I have experienced since I arrived at Merthyr Town six years ago.
Rhys Jones Has Swapped Tokyo For Clydach Vale . . . But He's Still Racing Towards Better Times Ahead
Rhys Jones should have been preparing to jet to Japan this summer. But instead of counting down the days to his third Paralympics, the Welsh sprinter is at home – keeping body and mind intact – as he awaits freedom from lockdown as he told Owen Morgan. Para sprinter Rhys... Read More
Rhys Jones . . . Fighter, Sprinter, Organiser, Photographer . . . With Plenty To Do On The Road Ahead
Rhys Jones was sprinting towards his third Paralympics when the finishing line was suddenly moved 12 months further down the track. But as he tells Owen Morgan, he’s now managing to adjust to the long haul. Described as a “hopeless case” by doctors when he was just two years old,... Read More
The 2022 Commonwealth Games – and the Wales team preparing for the Birmingham event - could face major disruption as a result of the decision to re-schedule the Tokyo Olympics for 2021. The Olympics will now take place between July 23 and August 8 in 2021 - a move that... Read More
Elliot Slade is a Welsh runner, who also happens to make horror movies. It was proving a perfect combination until the real global horror of the coronavirus pandemic threw his plans into confusion. Owen Morgan spoke to him just as he was attempting to return to Europe from San Francisco... Read More
Welsh table tennis prodigy Anna Hursey has been unable to return to her Chinese training base because of the coronavirus pandemic. The teenager – who rose to prominence in 2018 when she competed at the Commonwealth Games at the age of just 11 – moved to China last year to... Read More
David Morgan was a one-man gold machine. The Welsh weightlifting legend has been a fitness advisor to many, but now he tells Owen Morgan he’d be happy to help unearth another jewel for Wales. Between 1982 and 2002, Welsh sports fans knew they were virtually guaranteed to be celebrating at... Read More