The Women's Super League kicked off this weekend with Newport playing Llanelli at Croesyceiliog RFC. Newport started strong and dominated the first ten minutes but despite numerous chances Llanelli managed to hold their line and deny Newport the opening try. With ten minutes played, Llanelli Centre Karen Mayze scored following a well-worked lineout by the visitors.
Llanelli were dominant in the scrum with their front row controlling play despite the experience of Dawn Mason and Louise Rickard in the Newport pack.
Llanelli had a try disallowed for offside but minutes later Helen Edwards secured good ball in the lineout and the forwards drove well, releasing the ball to Fly Half Awen Thomas who went over for a try.
Despite Newport being overpowered upfront, their backs played well and displayed some good running rugby. Their support work was first class and although Llanelli tackled hard Newport persisted and Scrum Half Amy Price scored a well-deserved try, which was converted by Vicky Jennings.
Just before the break Mayze kicked a high ball putting pressure on the Newport Full back. Non Evans capitalised on the opportunity scoring an easy try bringing the half time score to 15-7.
In the second half both teams had opportunities with Newport securing plenty of possession but in the last twenty minutes Llanelli took control and Non Evans outpaced the Newport defence to score her second under the posts. Awen Thomas converted to bring the final score to 22-7. Grace Gavin from New York refereed the game.
Elsewhere UWIC hosted Pontypridd in what turned out to be a very close match. With ten minutes remaining Pontypridd were ahead 12-7 but Welsh winger Hayley Baxter ran the length of the pitch to score. Amber Penrith added further points to give UWIC victory. Pontypridd's forwards were outstanding but the speed and agility of the UWIC backs proved to be deciding factor. Wales U19 prop Ruth Copeland played well in the Pontypridd front row and Scrum Half Amy Day had a great game. The seventeen-year-old was impressive last season for Wales U16s and will want to prove herself on the senior stage this season.
North Wales took on Swansea at Denbigh RFC. Wales U19s Ellen Evans played well for the Northern side captained by Senior International Kylie Wilson. Despite Welsh Captain Melissa Berry putting in a good performance for Swansea the final score was 31-15 to North Wales.
All three fixtures were watched by the National Coaches who are looking for potential players for the first International of the season against Canada in November.
The second round of fixtures are scheduled for Sunday 8th September with Swansea at home to Newport, UWIC taking on Llanelli and North Wales playing Pontypridd.
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Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
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