Henson starts at full back for New Years Eve clash
30 December 2008 13:01pm
Ospreys coach Sean Holley wants to end an excellent year for his side on a high - by beating the in-form Cardiff Blues at a sold-out Arms Park. (kick-off 2.05pm)
Holley has selected Gavin Henson at full back for the New Years Eve clash, fully aware that taking down Dai Youngs fired up side will be a tough task in front on their home fans.
The Blues may be languishing close to the bottom of the Magners League table, but Holley knows a Welsh derby will be the perfect opportunity for them to translate fine European form to the domestic stage.
But, after a taking down the Scarlets 20-6 in the season encounter Holley is confident. He said: We go into the final Christmas derby on the back of an excellent result at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, and we face a Blues side that has been playing really well this season. They have a settled side and that has resulted in them enjoying a very productive time of late, with some good performances and notable victories. We enjoy a healthy rivalry and we are well aware that the Arms Park is a difficult place to go and get a result. But, we have gone there and won in the past and, with a full house expected, we are excited about the prospect of another big occasion.
"The next two matches, against the Blues and Munster, are very important games for us, in terms of keeping our momentum going in the Magners League. Our focus is entirely on maintaining a strong challenge at the top of the table before attentions turn to European competition again as we want to ensure that we have it all to play for, in terms of the Magners League, by the time the next crucial phase of the season comes around.
"We have had to manage our squad closely over this busy period and the performance against the Scarlets last time out showed the great character within the squad and the belief in our ability that we have. There were some great individual performances, but most satisfying was the all round team showing in the second half to overpower a very determined opposition. We've only had a few days to prepare for this match, but after a quick turnaround, the 22 selected are entirely focused on the challenge that lies in store and are looking forward to enjoying another derby match in front of a big crowd, with a passionate atmosphere."
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.