Ten team Premiership can work, but only if you give youth a chance – McIntosh

14 Apr

McIntosh says coaches must be brave to help Welsh rugby develop

 

PONTYPRIDD coach Dale McIntosh believes a 10-team Premiership can be beneficial for Welsh rugby – but only if coaches are brave enough to give youth a chance.

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Wales warned not to expect ‘too much too soon’ of Matthew Morgan

13 Apr

Morgan in action for Wales U20s

Ospreys skills coach Gruff Rees has warned against expecting “too much too soon” from Swansea starlet Matthew Morgan, as the young fly-half continues to impress.

Morgan has been in glittering form for the Ospreys and Swansea RFC this season, while he also starred for the Wales Under 20s during the Six Nations.

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Nigel Owens – Wales’s top official’s World Cup ambition

1 Apr
Nigel Owens hopes to head to the RWC later this year

WALES’S top referee, Nigel Owens, is focusing on hitting top form in what could be a career defining season.

The effervescent west-Walian, who was in Cardiff to referee the Welsh varsity match, finds out next week whether he is on the list of 11 elite referees selected by the IRB to officiate at this autumn’s World Cup in New Zealand.

And with a huge Heineken Cup quarter-final at the sold-out new Lansdowne Road between former champions Leicester and Leinster, as well as the possibility of taking charge of his third European final in Cardiff in May, Owens knows he needs to be at the top of his game.

“Fingers crossed I will be one of the 11 doing the world cup.

“Leinster-Leicester is a massive game with 52,000 people in the Aviva stadium. It will be as big as some of the internationals I have done,” Owens, who has refereed 26 tests, said.

“I love the Heineken Cup, people are so passionate about their region. I would say that 99 per cent of people at these games are very passionate rugby supporters and it makes for a brilliant atmosphere,” he said.

“That isn’t always the case with internationals as you have a different type of fan. There are more hospitality seats and perhaps some people who wont watch any other rugby than Six Nations in a year.”

“The Munster-Leinster semi-final at Croke Park in 2009 is one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in. I was aware it was more than a rugby game, it was an event, but it wasn’t until I watched the game back to review it that I thought ‘that was a special game, that was a privilege to be part of’,” he said.

“The first-ever rugby game at Soccer City, South Africa-New Zealand that was a hell of an atmosphere too.”

And whilst the lack of Welsh participation in the business stage of the competition means the door is open for Owens to join Chris White as the only men to have taken charge of three finals, he knows what he would prefer.

“I would happily not do the final and see a Welsh side win it,” he said. “I don’t know what is going wrong for the regions, we definitely have the players. Have they got it right on or off the field? I don’t know, but it’s very sad.”

“ I do think that everyone should be getting behind the regions though. It is great that we still have passionate rivalries like Cardiff-Ponty, and we should never lose that because that is what makes rugby special in this country but I do think some people need to grow up a bit and get behind the regions in the Magners and Heineken,” he said.

“We are only a small country and we need to pull together.”

 

Young sets Blues Magners ultimatum

29 Mar

Dai Young has demanded the Blues are perfect from now on, if they're to make the play-offs

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young has laid down the gauntlet to his players for the season finale, by challenging them to win all five of their remaining matches.

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Blues tie-down young Welsh talent

29 Mar

Cardiff Blues have secured the services of three of their Wales stars, as Leigh Halfpenny, Bradley Davies and Chris Czekaj all signed new contracts with the region.

Andries Pretorius, Dafydd Hewitt, Josh Navidi and James Down also put pen to paper on extensions, as the Blues look to build for next season and beyond.

These players are following the example of Welsh internationals Sam Warburton and Tom James, who both agreed to extend their contracts at the Blues last month.

Dacey named player of the month

29 Mar

CARDIFF Blues youngster Kristian Dacey has been named the Principality Premiership player of the month for February after starring for Pontypridd.

The 21-year-old hooker has scored six tries for Ponty this season, and he came off the bench for the Blues in their 16-15 defeat to Munster on Friday.

The accolade represents an impressive turnaround for Dacey, who only switched from No 8 to the front row a year ago.

Ponty will face Swansea in Cardiff

29 Mar

Principality Premiership leaders Pontypridd have been paired with Swansea in a mouthwatering semi-final draw for the Swalec Cup.

Dale McIntosh’s Ponty side reached the last four thanks to a 38-30 win against Merthyr, while Swansea progressed after snatching a dramatic 39-34 victory over Newport.

In the other semi-final, Llandovery will take on Aberavon. Both ties will be played at neutral venues on Saturday April 9.