Wales’ leading rugby players are facing more massive pay cuts with plans for funding from the Welsh Rugby Union to the regions to be slashed by £23m. Stars of the Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Dragons have already seen their wages reduced by 25 per cent for the past three months. Now, they are facing more cuts – some will see reductions of £100,000-a-year - as well as redundancies following a devastating update from the WRU on how the current sporting shutdown is going to affect its income in the year ahead.
Cash-starved football clubs beneath the Premier League hoping for some financial help from the top flight have been told: Don’t hold your breath. The bleak warning not to expect much help from the moneyed clubs at the top of the food chain has come from Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. Newport County and other clubs in League Two have been running on empty since the lockdown in March, while even Championship clubs such as Cardiff City and Swansea City have been left contemplating very tough times ahead.
Last week, Connah’s Quay Nomads were crowned new Welsh champions thanks to their performances on the field. Now, argues Matthew Burgess, they are quickly starting to behave like champions, off the field, too. If ever Andy Morrison’s Connah’s Quay side wanted to make a statement of intent following their first ever league title, the signing of Aeron Edwards direct from rivals The New Saints certainly did the trick. Just a week after being awarded the Cymru Premier title, the Nomads declared the off-season open - bolstering their already strong squad whilst simultaneously depleting their closest rivals in the process.
Ryan Giggs has said he wants Wales to try and play in a similar style to runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool when international football resumes. The Wales manager has been forced to revise all his plans for 2020 with the postponement of the European Championship finals and the scrapping of all his team’s warm-up fixtures for the tournament. But with football due to return behind closed doors on June 17, Giggs is turning his attention to the lead-in to next summer and the evolving playing style he would like his young team to develop.
It’s seven years since Wales inflicted their record winning margin over England – the 30-3 hammering that moved Andy Farrell to declare the visitors’ dressing room was the quietest he had ever known. Richard Hibbard was in the noisiest, as he recalls to Graham Thomas ahead of tonight’s re-showing on S4C. Richard Hibbard recalls looking up at the clock at what he thought was the midway point of the first half of Wales v England, the Six Nations title decider in 2013. It said 12 minutes had gone.
New Dragons recruit Jonah Holmes knows better than most the risks that rugby players will face when they are permitted to go back to training after lockdown. The Wales international can’t wait to meet up with his new team mates at Rodney Parade after securing a move from Leicester, but returning to a safe environment is the key after seeing what happened to his brother is critical. A doctor working on the front line of the NHS in the intensive care unit at Royal Bolton Hospital, Raphael Holmes was struck down with pneumonia and forced to self-isolate for two weeks. That forced his brother, Jonah, to also go into lockdown.
The Celtic Dragons have encouraged their fans to donate their ticket money to the club, rather than seek refunds following the cancellation of the Vitality Netball Superleague season. The club state the cash would go towards attempting to secure the continuation of top level netball in Wales. In a statement on their website following the decision by England Netball – the Superleague owners – to end the 2020 competition, the Cardiff-based Dragons say supporters can either claim refunds or make a donation to the franchise by not claiming.
Vicky Thornley has vowed to keep fit on her static bike at home after the road crash in which she suffered a broken elbow. The Welsh rower was hurt in an accident while out cycling last week and needed surgery on her right arm. Thornley, who is preparing for her third Olympic Games appearance in next year’s postponed event, was out on her bike near Reading with training partner Richard Egington when she hit the tarmac.
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.
Merthyr Town head for Somerset on Saturday aiming to complete a BetVictor Southern Premier League double. The Martyrs take on Taunton Town at their Cygnet Health Care Stadium having beaten their hosts 4-2 earlier this season. Former Bristol Rovers and Exeter City player Eliot Richards scored a hat-trick and Ian Traylor netted... Read More
Danny Williams, the Bluebirds’ striker on loan at Merthyr Town, made an excellent debut for his new team in a goalless draw against Beaconsfield Town at the MetCoaches Stadium. The 21-year-old led the attack with energy and intelligence, linking well with Ian Traylor in the BetVictor Southern League match. Former Wales Colleges... Read More
Andy Beattie is returning to Merthyr Tydfil along with Kevin Rogers, Peter Jones and Chris Holvey. The quartet will attend a Merthyr Town Legends Night at The MetCoaches Stadium on Friday, March 20 and there is sure to be a lot of talk about that magical night under the lights at Penydarren Park... Read More
Wrexham and Merthyr Town were both left without matches when their scheduled fixtures were postponed. The Dragons were due to play Torquay United at home, while the Martyrs were preparing to welcome Dorchester Town at MetCoaches Stadium. Both fixtures were called off because of waterlogged pitches, courtesy of Storm Denis. Wrexham and Torquay... Read More
Former Wales under-21 international Eliot Richards struck gold for Merthyr Town in their betVictor Southern League home match against promotion-chasing Taunton Town. Former Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town and Tampa Bay Rowdies player Richards struck a hat-trick in Merthyr’s 4-2 win in front of more than 300 spectators at the MetCoaches Stadium. The... Read More
It’s been a difficult season for player-manager Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town team this season, but they are showing there is plenty of character and spirit at the MetCoaches Stadium. Money for the player budget is tight, although the club is financially stable, and rival teams are able to splash... Read More