Fraser Watson gives us the latest rugby gossip from around the county

Young Otters secure possession

In his latest column, Fraser Watson talks 4G pitches, Pembrokeshire's front row factory, helping the homeless, backing Bedwas and Cardigan's future fears.....


A 4G reception:

I've never been an advocate of playing rugby matches on 4G pitches.

As a training base? Yes. But games with manufactured conditions (including closed stadium roofs) defy the object of good sides and players being able to adapt.

And if the Milford Haven version is anything to go by, the surface brings its own dangers. Numerous players spoke of horrible skin burns from the few senior matches played there.

But Saturday did get me thinking. With nearly all senior and junior rugby in Wales decimated by Storm Dennis, Cardiff Met and Narberth Youth played out a pulsating Welsh Cup game on the 4G at Cyncoed. 

A superb effort for the Young Otters ultimately fell short, but to have played in front of a big crowd in such professional surroundings would have done them no end of good.

With so much club rugby lost in Wales due to rain and boggy pitches, there is an advantage to having access to a facility that stands up in all conditions.

I'm still at odds with the idea, but if finances allowed the WRU to set up more artificial surfaces, it would at least cut down on postponed matches.

Dom's new Booth at Scarlets:

It's been a positive season thus far for Tenby product Dom Booth.

The 19-year-old hooker has played the opening two Wales Under 20's games in the Six Nations and on Saturday, was called into the Scarlets first team squad. He was an unused replacement against Edinburgh, but his selection was testament to his recent progress.

Rob Evans, released back for the weekend by Wales, also featured in the second half and for Ospreys, Simon Gardiner started and Sam Parry came on in their much needed win over Ulster.

Rhys Fawcett is also currently on loan at Ospreys from Scarlets while former Crymych hooker Ifan Phillips has just signed a similar deal to go the other way.

Fair to say, the Pembrokeshire front row factory can currently be very pleased with the current produce.

Jonathan helps the homeless:

International tickets aren't that difficult to come by these days - just so long as you don't mind the extortionate prices.

So giving one away for free is not for the faint hearted.

But that's what Milford's Jonathan Morgan and his mates did when they had a spare for Wales v Italy, opting to treat a homeless man on Westgate Street rather than make a quick buck themselves.

Such is the modern world that the deed soon went viral on social media - but I'd far rather read about something like that than people whingeing about daffodils and calls to 'give it to Shane'.

Jonathan also brought new friend Simon a drink and hot dog during the game and given the Principality prices, that's no bargain either.

Well played sir.

Cardigan's future fears:

I never used to enjoy playing against Cardigan. And that's a compliment.

At junior and senior level their teams, and crowds, always had a hard nosed and colloquial feel about them. Going down there, you knew you were going to have to dig deep to get anything.

So to hear their mini and junior section is on the brink is alarming. The club no longer fields a youth side or any teams in the 11-16 age groups, while the mini section is also seeing numbers falling.

The Teifisiders will always have the issue of their better talents heading to Crymych or Newcastle Emlyn but every club endures that - so the situation is hard to fathom.

Rugby clubs should be a massive focal point of close knit communities like Cardigan. But once you lose the junior section, the future becomes bleak.

A crisis call has been out out to all players and parents involved. I hope they answer it.....

Backing Bedwas:

Storm Dennis provided some amusing images of rugby pitches replicating swimming pools - but for some it was no laughing matter.

Bedwas RFC were one club to have their pitch and facilities flooded beyond repair, and with the damage not covered by insurance, they have found themselves in a dire situation.

The support from fellow clubs has been overwhelming and clubs (or individuals) who want to assist financially can do so here.


Rebuild Bedwas RFC organized by William Rees

In the early hours of Sunday 16 February, the River Rhymney adjacent to Bedwas RFC burst its banks and… William ...


Regardless, a big rebuild lies ahead and everyone in Welsh rugby will be wishing them well with it.