Nantgaredig provide 'Super Saturday' international success
20 March 2017 15:37
Sweden win a line-out at Ystrad Park against Nantgaredig
It wasn't just the Welsh National teams who were on 'Test' duty battling against Europe's finest last weekend.
While Alun Wyn Jones, Carys Phillips and Keiran Williams were leading their respective Welsh sides against France, their counterparts at Carmarthen Athletic and Nantgaredig were joining in the international spirit.
It all began last Thursday night when the Athletic hosted Sweden and came away with a 34-3 victory. That was followed up by 46-5 triumph by Nantgaredig two days later as the rugby world awaited the outcome of the final round of the RBS 6 Nations.
Carmarthen Athletic, who play in Division 2 West in the WRU National League had a hat-trick of tries from Martin Penhallurick to thank for their win. The home side ran in five tries in all, four coming in the second half after they led 10-3 at the break.
The trip by the 57th ranked side in the World Rugby rankings was arranged by the Nantgaredig coach 'JG' Phillips and the Division 3 West B side put on a great show against international opposition.
Phillips used to live in Sweden and played rugby there. The fixture was borne out of his friendship with the elite manager of the Swedish rugby team, Neil Johnson.
With Rugby Europe Conference 1 North games against Latvia and Lithuania coming up, Johnson was keen to get some game time under his players belts at a stage of the season when it is difficult to find any grass to play on at home.
"We had a very warm welcome - it was brilliant.Some of the guys were really surprised at just how good the level of opposition was," said Phlllips, a Scotsman.
"A lot of Swedes go down to New Zealand thinking that it's the heartland of rugby and I always say 'you just have to go across to Wales'."
Rugby is currently the fastest growing team sport in Sweden and Johnson is overseeing a 10-year strategy focusing on grass roots rugby that he hopes will further boost the game's profile.
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