Once Wales’ most capped rugby player, most prolific tryscorer and most decorated captain, Ieuan Evans was the wide man who always held centre stage. Now, he’s seeking to be at the hub of events in a different role – as a member of the Welsh Rugby Union’s council. Graham Thomas hears why. When Ieuan Evans lifted the 1994 Five Nations trophy as Wales captain, he wore the look of a man who knew the truth. His team had won the title, but they had just been beaten by England at Twickenham – a Grand Slam opportunity had been lost – and the skipper’s instinct was to reflect the mixed emotions he felt inside rather than dance to the tune of TV producers who wanted joyous celebration.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant came within a whisker of setting a new 1500m personal best on her first outdoor outing of 2020 on Tuesday night. The Welsh 3,000 and 5,000m record holder was in imperious form as she overcame a high quality field at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland. Courtney-Bryant produced a masterclass in front running before breaking the tape in a new meeting and stadium record of 4:03.69.
Mark Williams has jumped to the defence of snooker’s young brigade and called Ronnie O’Sullivan “disrespectful” for his criticisms of their standards. Wales’ former world champion saw his pursuit of a third title ended by O’Sullivan on Tuesday when the five-time champion won their quarter-final 13-10 at the Crucible. It was a clash between two of the game’s ageing legends with Williams now 45 and O’Sullivan 44. But it was a contest given more spice by O’Sullivan’s comments that levels of performance among the younger generation was so low that he would, “have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50.”
Port Talbot Ladies head coach Hayley Williams admits there was a fair degree of apprehension before her players went back to training this month. After all, it had been a long time since the Welsh Premier Women’s League squad members had last got together for their twice weekly sessions. But thanks to a grant of just over £1,000 from the Be Active Wales Fund, the players are now back on the grass – although having to get used to new conditions and demands imposed by coronavirus restrictions.
Dan Jervis went to swimming’s world championships last year and failed to cope with the anxiety of expectation. Now, after lockdown and time spent out of the pool, he tells Graham Thomas he will be a calmer man heading towards next year’s Olympic Games. Dan Jervis is glad to be back in the pool, but the Olympic hopeful admits lockdown has altered his outlook to training, swimming, and even life itself. The Commonwealth Games silver medal winner from 2018 is part of the small group of 11 elite Welsh swimmers currently back in the water in Newport.
The draws have been made, the maps have been checked, and now Welsh football clubs are preparing for their summer stint in the sun. Matthew Burgess says the cards – as usual – are not stacked in the Welsh clubs’ favour, but one-game shoot-outs might yet enable the likes of Connah’s Quay and Barry Town United to make their mark. Anticipating how Welsh clubs will fare in European competitions is generally a difficult summer task at the best times, yet the ongoing impact of the coronavirus on Welsh football only serves to muddy the waters further. In football's new normal, all qualifying rounds are to be decided over one game and ties could be hosted at neutral venues - or determined without a ball even being played - should Covid restrictions dictate.
Alun Wyn Jones may be poised to become the most capped rugby player in history – but his first plan is to impress his new boss. The Wales captain is scheduled to pass Richie McCaw’s mark of 148 international caps this autumn, but his more immediate aim is to show new Ospreys coach Toby Booth the true meaning of staying power. Jones has been involved in his 18th senior pre-season routine with the Ospreys in recent days, but his first since Booth became head coach and the former London Irish chief says: “He’s at the start of his career for me.
New Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney believes Mark Jones’ stint coaching in New Zealand with the Crusaders could be the making of him. Former Wales wing Jones moved to Christchurch in January to become defence coach with the all-conquering Super Rugby outfit. Crusaders are a set-up Delaney knows plenty about. The... Read More
Aled Thomas has called on the Welsh Rugby Union to invest more in their sevens programme - rather than go for the money saving option of amalgamating with England and Scotland. All three Unions are looking at ways of cutting costs at the moment and one of the latest ideas... Read More
Welsh rugby’s regional players will return from furlough next week as they prepare to re-start their Guinness Pro 14 season. Players from Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and the Dragons will return to organised training for the first time, although in small groups, with strict social distancing and following a Covid-19... Read More
Ieuan Evans still remembers the rallying cry of Ray Gravell in the dressing room before Llanelli beat Australia. It was 1992 and the world champions were on tour in Wales.Evans had already seen Swansea beat the Wallabies, but the tourists had recovered to beat Wales B and Neath before they... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More