Jayne Ludlow said Wales are getting closer to qualifying for a major finals after their UEFA Women's Euro2022 heartache was confirmed. Natasha Harding, Rachel Rowe and Jess Fishlock all struck in an emphatic 3-0 victory over Belarus in their final qualifying game at Newport's Rodney Parade.
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.
Guinness Pro 14
The dates for the regional festive derbies in the Guinness Pro 14 have been confirmed with the Dragons hosting the Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day afternoon and the Ospreys taking on the Scarlets in the evening. The Rodney Parade match will be live on S4C and Premier Sports, while Premier... Read More
Meanwhile . . . Over In Italy, Liam Williams Made His Return For The Hard-Nosed, Hard-Edged, Hard To Watch Scarlets
Most eyes were trained towards Paris on Saturday night for their weekend rugby fix, but some hard core types had already enjoyed a Friday night starter where Liam Williams was in action. Well, “enjoyed” might be putting it strongly. Harri Morgan watched the Scarlets win 10-3 at Benetton and learned... Read More
Dean Ryan believes the Dragons missed a trick even though they were well beaten, 35-5 by Leinster in Dublin in their Guinness PRO14 opener on Friday night. Coaching director Ryan watched his team go 21-0 down by the break having been reduced to 14 men with Leinster scoring through Garry... Read More
The Dragons start their Guinness Pro 14 campaign in Dublin tonight at the home of champions, Leinster. Pulling the strings for the region will be Sam Davies, who has at least one former Wales star backing him for a significant breakthrough this season, as he tells Graham Thomas. Sam Davies... Read More
Wales coaches Stephen Jones, Byron Hayward and Jonathan Humphreys were on hand to see the Cardiff Blues go through one of their final training sessions before heading to Italy for their Guinness PRO14 opener against Zebre. For Jones, in particular, the sight of Willis Halaholo looking fully fit will have been... Read More
A new season of Guinness PRO14 rugby begins on Friday with a sense of the unknown hanging over the competition. The Covid-19 pandemic means the competition will begin behind closed doors with the tournament set to introduce further South African sides. Steffan Thomas looks at the strengths of the PRO14... Read More