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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wales Men's National Rugby Team News

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September 26, 2015 - Dan Biggar kicks Wales to win over Fiji
"Although Wales triumphed 23-13 at the Millennium Stadium, they were made to sweat profusely by a Fiji side that enjoyed scrummaging supremacy and consistently threatened a major World Cup upset. In the end, tries by outstanding scrum-half Gareth Davies and hooker Scott Baldwin – plus 13 points from the fly-half Dan Biggar’s ultra-reliable right boot – edged Wales home.... Wales desperately had to calm things down, and that influence predictably arrived through Biggar, who landed a long-range penalty for his 12th successful World Cup kick from 12 attempts. There was no pattern or predictability to the game, which unquestionably suited Fiji more than their opponents, yet another Biggar penalty opened up a 10-point advantage and Fiji finally had no reply." - Guardian

September 26, 2015 - Dan Biggar kicks Wales to win over England
"Dan Biggar guided an injury-hit Wales to a thrilling 28-25 World Cup win over England at Twickenham on Saturday as they twice came from 10 points behind to record a stunning 'Pool of Death' victory. Wales dealt killer blows in the last nine minutes when reserve scrum-half Lloyd Williams's brilliant cross-field kick was gathered by scrum-half Gareth Davies for a spectacular try under the posts. Biggar -- whose 23 points haul is a record for a Welshman against England -- converted to level the match at 25-25 and Wales then won a penalty 49 metres out and fly-half Biggar's penalty edged them into a 28-25 lead." - TenPlay

September 20, 2015 - Rhys Priestland kicks 7 conversions in win over Uruguay
"Wales claimed a bonus point as they opened their World Cup campaign with a stuttering eight-try win over battling Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.... Uruguay fly-half Felipe Berchesi impressed and kicked Los Teros into an early 6-0 lead, before Wales responded." - BBC

September 7, 2015 - injured Leigh Halfpenny ruled out of World Cup
"Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering knee ligament damage on Saturday. Halfpenny was injured during Wales' 23-19 World Cup warm-up victory over Italy at the Millennium Stadium and had scans on his knee on Monday. 'Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has suffered an ACL injury, ruling him out of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup,' a Welsh Rugby Union statement read. 'Leigh will undergo further examination and assessment before further details are announced'." - Evening Standard

August 29, 2015 - Leigh Halfpenny kicks three penalties and a convert in win over Ireland
"Leigh Halfpenny kicked Wales to victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in a high-octane Rugby World Cup preparation game that took its toll on both sets of players. Full-back Halfpenny booted three penalties and a conversion of flanker Justin Tipuric's first-half try to edge Wales home 16-10 in their final Test before coach Warren Gatland names his 31-man World Cup squad on Monday." - ESPN

March 21, 2015 - Dan Biggar kicks 6 conversions & a penalty in 61-20 win over Italy
A George North hat-trick inspired a second-half blitz from Wales as they destroyed Italy to make themselves firm favourites for the 2015 RBS 6 Nations Championship. The Welsh came into the game knowing that, with a 25-point deficit to England and a 21-point gap to Ireland, they would in all likelihood need to run riot in Rome to have a chance of securing the title. And after a sluggish first half where Jamie Roberts and Giovanbattista Venditti swapped scores, Warren Gatland's side hit the accelerator after the break - running in 47 points. Liam Williams was the first to go over before North then grabbed a treble, all before the hour mark, as Dan Biggar impressed from the kicking tee - Leigh Halfpenny taken off for a head injury in the first half." - RBS 6 Nations

March 14, 2015 - Leigh Halfpenny kicks 5 penalties in win over Ireland
"Wales destroyed Ireland's Grand Slam dream at an emotionally charged Millennium Stadium as they set up a thrilling finale to this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship. Wales, Ireland - and potentially England - could all be in the title mix in next weekend's final round of Six Nations action, but Irish hopes of a first tournament clean sweep since 2009 ended following a 23-16 defeat. Substitute centre Scott Williams' second-half try proved the difference in comfortably the best game of this season's championship, while full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicked five penalties and fly-half Dan Biggar dropped a goal." - Independent 

February 28, 2015 - Leigh Halfpenny kicks 5 penalties in win over France 
"Dan Biggar's second-half try and the unerring boot of Leigh Halfpenny secured Wales a fourth successive win over France to keep their 2015 RBS 6 Nations title hopes alive. Warren Gatland's side are fast-becoming Les Bleus' bogey team and a fourth win in a row against their Gallic counterparts had not been achieved by Wales since the 1950s. But while Camille Lopez and Morgan Parra were both wasteful from the kicking tee, Halfpenny was ruthless in securing a 15-point individual haul and Biggar crossed for a fine team try." - RBS 6 Nations 

February 15, 2015 - Leigh Halfpenny kicks 4 penalties & 2 conversions in win over Scotland
"Wales kickstarted its Six Nations campaign with a 26-23 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday. Warren Gatland’s men lost their opener to England but hit back in Edinburgh with tries in either half from scrum-half Rhys Webb and centre Jonathan Davies for an eighth successive victory over Scotland. Leigh Halfpenny chipped in with 16 points as Wales put a dent in growing Scottish confidence after full-back Stuart Hogg had given the hosts an early lead. Jim Hamilton barged over in the last few seconds to draw Scotland to within three points but referee Glen Jackson called time before the home side could mount one last push to avoid a second Six Nations defeat in a row. Halfpenny had delivered an immaculate performance in attack and defence, while Scotland replied through Hogg’s breakaway score and substitute lock Hamilton’s late touchdown, plus three Greig Laidlaw penalties and a conversion, and a Finn Russell conversion." -  The Globe and Mail

February 6, 2015 - kicking trio
"Sam Warburton has identified Wales's bootboys as holding the key to sending England packing in the Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium tonight. Stuart Lancaster's Red Rose team launched the ball skywards more than 100 times during their four autumn internationals. Wales reckon they will aim to use the same strategy in Cardiff but are confident that in Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny they have a trio of players who can match anything England propel at them. Warburton said: 'Two years ago ball in play was a big factor but teams are kicking a lot more now and it is so important. Win the kicking game and it takes you a big way to winning the game. It's about using attacking kicks and turning wingers. It will be a huge battle there, as well as the set-piece, contact area and gain-line.' Both Biggar and Webb have been on song all season, while Warren Gatland this week paid Halfpenny a warm tribute. 'He's the best goal-kicker in world rugby,' said Wales's coach." - South Wales Evening Post

January 20, 2015 - Gareth Anscombe named to Six Nations squad
"Former Blues and Chiefs flyhalf Gareth Anscombe has been included in Wales' Six Nations squad. The 23-year-old, who qualifies for Wales through his Cardiff-born mother, has been steady rather than spectacular for the Cardiff Blues since joining the club last year, but has shown good distribution and option-taking and his kicking has been impressive in all departments." - SA Rugby
"Anscombe will compete with Dan Biggar and Bath-bound Rhys Priestland for the No 10 jersey, while Leicester youngster Owen Williams must wait a little longer for his opportunity. There had been suggestions that Williams would not be considered for selection because of his decision to sign a contract in England, however Gatland revealed the 22-year-old was still in contention before he was dropped for the Champions Cup tie against the Scarlets." - Daily Mail

January 5, 2015 - first five-eighth Gareth Anscombe
"Kiwi Gareth Anscombe looks to be on track to feature in the Six Nations rugby championship with his Cardiff coach Mark Hammett believing the young first five-eighth can "add things" to the Welsh campaign. Anscombe was a key figure in guiding Cardiff past Newport Gwent Dragons 11-9 in their tight Pro 12 derby and he won the praise of his Kiwi coach, Hammett. Anscombe set up the only try with some sweet distribution and kicked a dropped goal and penalty to sneak Cardiff home." - Stuff

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