Wales international Jonah Holmes has joined the Dragons on a long-term deal after he was released from the last year of his Leicester Tigers contract.

Holmes, who can operate on the wing or at full-back, scored 24 tries in three seasons with Premiership side Leicester.

The 27-year-old has been capped three times by Wales, and Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan hopes the region can help him become an established Test player.

Ryan said: "Jonah is a top-class international who is excited to make the move to Wales and join Dragons.

"Jonah has big ambitions, in both the domestic and international arena, and we are pleased that he believes that Dragons is the right fit for him to be able to achieve those goals."

Holmes is relishing a new challenge in the Pro 14.

He said: "I'm pleased to finalise the move and can't wait to get started in a new competition and link up with my team-mates.

"I've spoken at length to Dean, know the ambition for the future and have seen the squad that is being built. I'm excited by the challenge ahead.

"My focus is now totally on Dragons, getting integrated into the squad as soon as possible and trying to get my name on that first team sheet."

Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs predicts a bright future for academy product Dylan Levitt.

Levitt, 19, was called up to the senior Wales squad by Giggs for a training camp last May, and again for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers last November.

He did not make an appearance for his country, with Wales having only secured their place at the finals with a 2-0 victory over Hungary.

Giggs regrets not having been able to give Levitt a chance on the pitch and says the youngster stands out in training as an obvious talent.

"When Dylan was in the squad, we had must-win games, so I couldn't really throw him in and put him in that pressure cooker," the Wales boss told MUTV.

"But, in training, he's one of the best. He's my kind of player – a good character, quiet but tough, and he's one that I'll be taking a big look at over the next year or so.

"I want him to develop and if he does and, if he plays more games, then he'll definitely be in the reckoning. He's a really intelligent player with a good range of passing and he stands out in training in every session.

"As I said, it's just a shame that I couldn't get him on the pitch."

Levitt, who has been with the United academy since he was eight, has impressed for the club's Under-23s side and was part of the young senior side Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took to Nur-Sultan to face Astana in the Europa League.

He started alongside James Garner in midfield in the Red Devils' 2-1 defeat last November.

Ten of the leading international rugby union teams are exploring the possibility of a new aligned schedule.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina - the nations that make up SANZAAR - and the half a dozen countries that compete in the Six Nations are aiming to collaborate for the sport's benefit.

Several unions have been affected by the impact of coronavirus, with World Rugby having postponed all July Tests and setting aside a $100million relief fund in a bid to assist those struggling the most.

Now discussions are ongoing between SANZAAR and Six Nations boards over a new calendar designed to limit club-versus-country rows and create more lucrative games between the world's best teams.

A joint statement read: "Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish."

It added: "The nations, together with other key stakeholders, remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path."

Last month World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont suggested a Nations Championship - similar to cricket's recently formed ICC Test Championship - could get off the ground after being met with initial resistance.

 

World Rugby has taken the decision to postpone all international rugby matches scheduled for July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigning Rugby World Cup holders South Africa had been due to face Scotland and Georgia, while England were set to tour Japan and New Zealand had been scheduled to host Wales and Scotland.

However, all of those matches, and Ireland's tour of Australia, have been postponed with no new dates set.

A statement from World Rugby read: "Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July.

"Monitoring of the potential impact on the remaining 2020 international windows continues in collaboration with international rugby stakeholders and the respective authorities.  

"All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year.

"All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby."

Rugby Australia's general manager Ben Whitaker had previously suggested that games could be rescheduled for October.

International rugby has been on hold since March when the Six Nations was halted with four matches still to play.

The financial impact of having no games has already severely impacted the unions in Australia and the USA, with World Rugby having set up a $100million relief fund.

 

Daniel James feels it is a "bit too much" to be compared to Wales team-mate Gareth Bale.

Winger James made an instant impact for Manchester United following his arrival from Swansea City prior to the 2019-20 season, scoring on his home debut in a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

He has since managed to add two more goals in the Premier League, as well as another for the Red Devils in the Europa League before the ongoing campaign was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old's lightning pace and willingness to run at opposing players has led some to draw similarities to Bale, yet James instead sees the Real Madrid superstar - who he describes as a "just a normal guy" - as an inspirational figure.

"I don't think you can compare me to him," James told Sky Sports.

"To play with him at Wales is obviously amazing. For anyone that doesn't know him, he's such a great guy. Just a normal guy really. He's great with the youngsters and great around the place.

"But to be compared to him is a bit too much, I think.

"What he's done in his career, how he changed from a left-back to a left midfielder, to win the Champions League... it's just amazing what he has done.

"Players like him are the ones you look up to, but I think being compared to him is a bit silly."

James has also had the chance to play alongside one of his childhood idols at club level this season, having always admired Juan Mata.

The Spaniard is not just a role model on the pitch, however, also helping the new boy settle in at Old Trafford.

"When I first met him, he came and sat next to me in the changing room and said, 'I know it's a big move for you, if you need anything here is my number and if you ever need to talk about anything I'm here.' That was obviously great for me," James revealed.

He added on Mata: "He's just someone that I've always looked up to and to play in the same team as him is just surreal for me."

Gareth Bale and his wife Emma have donated £500,000 to a hospital in his hometown of Cardiff to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cardiff and Vale Health Charity made the announcement on Wednesday, revealing the couple dedicated funds to the University Hospital of Wales, where the Wales captain was born.

It has been requested the money be put towards "the response to COVID-19", with the focus of this particular charity being on "providing those extras for staff and patients that normal NHS funding doesn’t provide."

In a pre-recorded video, Real Madrid forward Bale said: "Hi everyone, I just wanted to record this video to thank everyone in the NHS for all their hard work and sacrifice during this COVID-19 crisis.

"The University Hospital of Wales holds a special place in my heart – it was where I was born, and it has provided great support to my friends, family and the wider community, so me and my family would like to show our support.

April 14 is a date defined by the unexpected in the world of sport.

From a unique edition of one of rugby's most famous competitions, to an Anfield turnaround that defied belief, sporting events on this date have produced their fair share of surprises.

It is also a date that will be forever etched in the memory of arguably the greatest golfer of all time.

Here we look back at some of the best sporting moments to take place on April 14.

1973: France failure ensures five-way tie

April 14, 1973 was the day on which an anomaly in the long and storied history of the Five and Six Nations was secured.

A tournament that saw all five teams struggle for consistency came to a close in Dublin. France had the championship in their sights after seeing off defending champions Wales in their previous encounter.

That victory left them as the only team capable of winning the title outright. Triumph at Lansdowne Road was needed to seal it but, in extremely windy conditions, inaccuracy from the tee cost them.

France missed three penalties and a conversion as Ireland claimed a 6-4 win that ensured every team finished on four points. The lack of a tiebreaker meant there could be no outright winner, with all five teams claiming a share of the championship. Had there been a points difference tiebreaker, Wales would have again prevailed.

2016: Klopp knocks out Dortmund in famous Liverpool comeback

Six months on from taking over at Liverpool, Klopp was reunited with the club where he made his name in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The last-eight tie with Borussia Dortmund was finely poised after a 1-1 draw at Signal Iduna Park.

It was Dortmund that appeared poised to progress to the semi-finals, though, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave them a 2-0 lead.

Divock Origi pulled one back for Liverpool three minutes into the second half but Marco Reus looked to have put the tie beyond doubt, his effort leaving the Reds needing three goals to progress.

However, a rasping low drive from Philippe Coutinho gave Anfield hope and Mamadou Sakho's close-range header in the 77th minute set the stage for a grandstand finish. Dejan Lovren proved the unlikely hero as he towered to turn home James Milner's cross in the 91st minute.

Liverpool went on to defeat Villarreal in the semi-finals but were denied in the showpiece in Basel as Sevilla claimed a 3-1 win.

2019: Tiger caps comeback with remarkable Masters win

One of sport's greatest comeback stories was completed on this day at Augusta last year.

Most had doubted whether Tiger Woods would ever recapture the form that saw him win 14 majors after his well-documented back problems.

Yet, the closest challenger to Jack Nicklaus' major record of 18 inched one closer with the kind of performance many considered consigned to history to win his fifth green jacket.

Woods began the final day two strokes behind Francesco Molinari, but a captivating final day tilted firmly in his favour on the 15th.

Molinari sent his tee shot into the trees and then found the water with a misplaced lay-up, eventually making double bogey.

Woods, by contrast, birdied from two feet to take the outright lead, with a sensational tee shot at 16 leaving him a short putt for a two-stroke advantage.

He made par at 17 to ensure a bogey would be enough on the last, and there would be no last-gasp slip-up, Woods standing on the 18th green with his arms aloft in celebration of a triumph few thought possible.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has agreed to a "big" cut in his salary during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster confirmed he and his fellow coaches have already reached an agreement with New Zealand Rugby, while discussions with players are also at an advanced stage.

"Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut," Foster said to Newstalk ZB.

"That's already been agreed to - with rugby when there's no games, there's no revenue, and that's a tough thing. There's been a lot of shaving of the programmes inside and what it's also come down to is cutting.

"It's a different sort of process for players but I know they're willing to go into that space too.

"Theirs is a more complex [situation] - but it's a given and they understand that. It's just a matter of working it through so all the different levels of players are dealt with fairly.

"I haven't heard one player yet who doesn't accept that it's going to happen. There's a real willingness of those involved in the game to get behind this and do whatever it takes to make sure [the game] survives."

Foster believes the three home Test matches scheduled for July, two against Wales and another against Scotland, are unlikely to go ahead.

He wants the All Blacks players to maintain a base level of fitness, though conceded a "short period" would still be needed after the lockdown to up their levels to full match readiness.

"If you look at the probability, there's a reasonably good chance that international travel and borders won't be down across the world at that point, so in that case the All Blacks won't be playing in July,” he added.

"[If we keep players at peak fitness] they'll just blow out mentally and get really frustrated with that because there’s so much uncertainty.

"We want the players to settle down then we'll start expecting fitness levels to be at a certain point that when the lockdown finishes and we do start to think about a starting point for rugby again."

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies believes the right call was made after it was decided to postpone the Six Nations clash with Scotland.

With the British government opting not to ban large events, it seemed as though Wales' encounter with Scotland would go ahead as planned in Cardiff on Saturday.

However, the WRU confirmed on Friday, 24 hours prior to kick-off, that the match would not be played amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has been a tough week," said Davies in quotes reported by BBC Sport. "But we believe it was the proper and responsible thing to do."

"I don't think we could've dealt with it any better. We made a decision last night that this match would go ahead. In a very quickly moving world things had changed by late morning today.

"We initially followed the advice of government in terms of the scientific and medical evidence and that was the case up until [Thursday] night.

"We had an emergency board meeting to consider everything and we still thought, bearing in mind the advice we had, that keeping the game on was the way to go.

"Last night the Premier League were carrying on but by this morning that had changed and the EFL went on a similar course, as did the Celtic v Rangers game, in all being called off and other major global events were also being pulled.

"We spoke to the government this morning, who understood our position."

"For us to be the only sporting event to be on, we were mindful of the seriousness of the situation. We took into account supporters, players and staff and asked whether it was essential to subject to that risk."

Wales international James Davies will miss the rest of the season after Scarlets confirmed he is to undergo surgery on a hip injury.

The flanker has not played since he featured for his country in the bronze medal match at the Rugby World Cup in November.

It has now been confirmed Davies, who has not yet returned to full training, will require surgery to fix the ongoing issue.

Davies, who has made eight Test appearances for his country, will subsequently miss the rest of the 2019-20 campaign.

A Scarlets spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, James continues to struggle with a hip injury that has prevented his full return to training.

"A decision for surgical intervention to facilitate his recovery has been made. It is hoped that this will allow James to begin the 2020-21 season fit and healthy."

Amid the outbreak of coronavirus, the Pro14 season was suspended on Thursday until further notice.

The Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland has been postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Until the decision, Saturday's contest in Cardiff was the only match in round five of the tournament still scheduled to take place this weekend.

The Italy v England and France v Ireland clashes had previously been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an announcement on Friday from the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed their game would also not go ahead as planned.

"The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue," read their statement, which was published 24 hours before kick-off.

"Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

"The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

"Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option."

The WRU had earlier said the game was still on, but the landscape changed when a host of other high-profile sporting fixtures for this weekend and beyond were cancelled or postponed amid the spread of coronavirus.

Football has been called off in England, France, Italy and Spain, along with next week's fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League.

The Test series between Sri Lanka and England has been cancelled, while in golf The Players Championship was halted after one round and next month's Masters has been postponed.

The Welsh Rugby Union still intends to stage Saturday's Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, despite coronavirus concerns.

The UK Government said on Thursday it was not yet necessary to postpone major sporting fixtures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson declaring there was "no medical reason at the moment to ban such events".

Wales' home fixture at the Principality Stadium is the only remaining match on the weekend's Six Nations schedule, after COVID-19 issues led to the postponement of Italy versus England and France's clash with Ireland.

However, it appears there will be action in Cardiff, with supporters told there will be "enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitisation" available.

"The Welsh Rugby Union [WRU] has confirmed tomorrow's Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland at Principality Stadium will go ahead as planned," the WRU said on Friday.

"WRU representatives have been in dialogue with Welsh Assembly government minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething, who provided much needed clarity on the Cobra meeting held yesterday.

"Throughout the WRU board have followed the scientific advice of government, Public Health Wales and medical experts and determined that any game would be held or postponed based on that advice.

"Enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitisation will be available at the stadium and there are measures in place to manage any issues with attendees on the day. In addition supporters are urged to follow the advice that is widely available on government websites in relation to the virus."

Wales and Scotland go head to head in the final round of the Six Nations on Saturday, and the Scots still have the slimmest chance of winning the title.

The tournament will not finish on schedule, with three matches yet to be rescheduled after being postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, so the wait goes on to learn who finishes as champions.

The Scots would be looking for whipping boys Italy to avoid defeat against both Ireland and England in two of those postponed matches, and for Ireland to do likewise against France, so their championship prospects appear merely mathematically possible.

Whether Scotland can beat Wales also remains to be seen, but Gregor Townsend's XV are the form side heading into the Principality Stadium clash, having won their last two matches while Wayne Pivac's side have lost three in a row.

With Opta data, we preview the weekend's lone Six Nations match:

Wales v Scotland

- Wales have won 14 of their last 16 Six Nations games against Scotland (L2), including their last eight in a row at the Principality Stadium, with Scotland’s only victory in Cardiff in the championship this century coming in 2002.

- Wales have lost their last three Six Nations games, their worst run in the championship since a five-game losing streak spanning the 2006 and 2007 editions.

- Scotland come into this match having won back-to-back games in the Six Nations, but they have not won three in a row in the Five Nations or Six Nations since 1996 when they beat Ireland, France and Wales in succession.

- Wales have scored four tries originating from inside their own half in this year’s Six Nations, the joint most of any side, with France having also scored four, while 50 per cent of Scotland’s tries (three of six) have come from that range, the highest ratio of any side.

- Scotland have won 7.8 turnovers per game on average in the tournament this year, more than any other side, while Wales have won the fewest (5.5). Scotland also boast the best tackle success rate this campaign (89 per cent) having missed a tournament-low 18 tackles per game.

- Wales have recorded the best goal-kicking success rate so far, with Leigh Halfpenny (100 per cent, 5/5) and Dan Biggar (94 per cent, 15/16) boasting the best individual rates of anyone to attempt more than one kick at goal.

- Stuart Hogg (Scotland) has gained the most metres of any player in the championship (305), averaging 76 metres per game. Another 76 metres in this match would see him become just the second player in Six Nations history to gain 3,000 metres, after Sergio Parisse (Parisse reached 3,088, Hogg is currently on 2,924).

- Hamish Watson (Scotland) has made 62 of 62 tackles in the championship, the second most of any player.

Joe Marler has been handed a 10-week suspension for grabbing Alun Wyn Jones' genitals during England's Six Nations win over Wales.

England were 33-30 winners at Twickenham on Saturday, but there were a number of flashpoints throughout the match, with the hosts reduced to 13 men by the final whistle after Ellis Genge went to the sin bin and Manu Tuilagi was sent off.

One incident missed by the officials concerned Jones and prop forward Marler, who appeared to grab at the Wales captain's crotch, though there was no action from the officials. 

After the incident was cited for further review, Marler appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin on Thursday and subsequently received a ban until June 8.

Marler, who did not accept that the incident warranted a red card, has the right to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, Tuilagi also appeared before the disciplinary committee. The centre likewise did not accept his tackle on George North warranted a red card, but his appeal was rejected and he is suspended for four weeks.

Courtney Lawes was also cited following the match for a dangerous tackle on Jones.

However, the committee agreed that Lawes' tackle, while an act of foul play, was not worthy of a red card.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac hailed captain Alun Wyn Jones as the "ultimate professional" ahead of his record-equalling cap in this weekend's clash with Scotland.

Jones has been named in Wales' team for Saturday's Six Nations game in Cardiff, which is set to go ahead as planned despite the competition's other two matches being postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The 34-year-old will match New Zealand icon Richie McCaw's tally of 148 Tests when running out at the Principality Stadium, nine of those coming for the British and Irish Lions.

And Pivac has paid tribute to influential skipper Jones, who made his Wales debut against Argentina almost 14 years ago.

"You just need to speak to anybody he plays against and they'll tell you what it's like to play against him," Pivac said at a news conference on Thursday.

"They hold him in high regard. I've seen first-hand what Alun Wyn does, not only on the field but in terms of training and our environment, in terms of his leadership off the field. 

"What he does is just huge. At training, the whistle blows and we'll shift from one drill to another and he's up and sprinting, the first guy there every single time.

"Then you see in a game, when he gets up off the ground, he's gone. He's the ultimate professional. 

"Every country will have someone who they will say is the ultimate professional, and in Wales, he is that guy.

"Equalling the record will be a proud moment for him and, all being well, he'll break that record and that will be an even prouder moment."

Jones will be joined in the second row by Cory Hill for Wales' concluding Six Nations fixture, as Pivac makes four changes from the 33-30 defeat to England last weekend.

Uncapped Sale Sharks prop WillGriff John and fellow front-rower Wyn Jones are also included, while scrum-half Rhys Webb will make his first Wales start since November 2017.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his starting XV.

Stuart McInally and Magnus Bradbury have been brought into the side following last week's 28-17 win over France, while Sam Skinner will make his first start of the campaign.

"Wales are the Six Nations champions and came very close to making a World Cup final," Townsend told reporters.

"Are we underdogs? I would have thought so. We're ranked below them in the world rankings and have not won there for a long time.

"The players want to carry on the good work we've been doing and also go to a place where they have never won before and play our best game of the season."

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, WillGriff John, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson; Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Willem Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Duncan Weir, Kyle Steyn.

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