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Wales 'seeded side' in Rugby League World Cup qualifiers

Wales are to be a seeded side in the main European Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup when the draw is made in November, 12 months before the final berth is decided.

Credit: Wales Rugby Leage

The tournament, which will be played in Autumn 2016, will consist of six sides, split into two groups of three with each nation playing one home and one away game.

Ireland are the other seeded side, so will not face Wales in a group, while the four other teams will be determined this year via the European Championship B and C competitions.

The winners of each group will qualify automatically while the second placed finishers will play off for the third and final European berth at Leigh Sports Village on November 5th 2016.

The composition of the two groups will be decided using three live draws based on seniority of competition to maintain balanced groups. One team from each pot will be in Group 1 and one will be in Group 2.

The European Championship B competition is at its halfway stage with Serbia, Russia and Italy each with two wins from three games. Ukraine prop up the table having lost all three of their games so far. All teams have faced each other once with the return games taking place this year.

European Championship C will be a three team competition between Greece, Malta and the winner of an upcoming qualifying game between Latvia and Spain in Riga on May 9.

The matches will be played between October 15th and November 5th 2016.

It is with great excitement that I look forward to the upcoming three years of international rugby league. We are all excited and invigorated by the challenges that World Cup qualification involves.

– John Kear, Wales Rugby League Head Coach

Disappointing night for Welsh clubs as Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham fall to defeat

Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham all fell to defeat in this evening's round of fixtures in what proved to be a disappointing night for the Welsh sides.

Cardiff traveled to promotion chasing Ipswich and got off to the worst possible start - Freddie Sears netting after just 3 minutes at Portman Road.

Russell Slade's men slipped to defeat against Ipswich. Credit: PA

Cardiff did equalise through an Eoin Doyle header, but goals form Cole Skuse and a last minute David Murphy strike sealed the win for Ipswich, who consolidate their place in the Championship play-off places.

In League 2 Newport suffered a knock to their play-off ambitions, going down 2-0 to Southend.

Goals from Cian Bolger and Stephen McLaughlin secured victory for the Shrimpers, who harbour their own promotion hopes. Newport slip to 9th following the defeat.

Meanwhile in the Conference Carl Darlington suffered his first defeat in charge of Wrexham with his side falling to a 2-1 defeat to relegation threatened Welling.

Andy Bishop's late goal wasn't enough for the Dragons, who remain in mid table.


Glamorgan hit by Leicestershire fight back

Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley put together an unbeaten partnership of 169 as Leicestershire’s batsmen replied strongly to Glamorgan’s first innings score of 513-9 declared.

David Lloyd picked up his maiden first class half century. Credit: PA

Robson, who scored 1086 championship runs for Leicestershire last season, closed on 82 and Eckersley on 81.

Earlier, David Lloyds’s maiden first class half-century ensured Glamorgan passed 500 before captain Jacques Rudolph declared in mid-afternoon.

Resuming on 294-2, the Welsh county quickly lost overnight centurion Will Bragg, before Colin Ingram went for 34.

With little bounce in the pitch, Mark Wallace also went leg before, given out for 10 despite being well forward to an Ollie Freckingham delivery, and Ben Raine trapped Graham Wagg in front for 5.

Dean Cosker failed to pick up any runs for the away side. Credit: PA

Leicestershire picked up the wickets of Craig Meschede, caught behind by Niall O’Brien off the bowling of Shreck for 30, as the visitors looked to pick up the scoring rate after taking lunch on 421-7.

Glamorgan also lost Dean Cosker, caught behind without scoring swinging at Freckingham, but despite being hit on the helmet by a Shreck bouncer, the 22-year-old Lloyd took on a series of short balls, hitting nine fours in going to his half-century off 58 balls.

Number eleven Andy Carter, on loan at Glamorgan from Nottinghamshire, also went to his first-class best, hitting 21 off 20 balls before Rudolph called his players in.

When Leicestershire began their reply, opener Dan Redfern hooked Carter for six over long leg, but then failed to get on top of an attempted drive at left-armer Graham Wagg, and was caught at point by Cooke for 24.

“A maiden first class 50 means a lot, it's been a bit up and down so far for me in the first team, but to get in there and try and get some runs kind of lifts something off my shoulders and hopefully I can get some more runs in the future.

“There's a bit in the wicket if you bowl it in the right place but we didn't really seem to find the right channels. Hopefully if we come back and hit good areas then there'll be a bit more, and maybe a bit of cloud cover, so fingers crossed."

– David Lloyd, Glamorgan

Glamorgan batsmen Jacques Rudolph and Will Bragg both score centuries on opening day

Glamorgan batsmen Jacques Rudolph and Will Bragg both scored centuries as the Welsh county enjoyed much the best of the first day of their opening Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Glamorgan's Graham Wagg (left) with Will Bragg Credit: PA

Coming together after Foxes' left-arm fast bowler Atif Sheik had dismissed opener James Kettleborough, caught behind by wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien for 10, Rudolph and Bragg put together a stand of 227, a Glamorgan second-wicket record against Leicestershire.

The very strong winds and flat pitch made it a good toss for Rudolph to win, and the South African had no hesitation in choosing to bat. Surprisingly, Leicestershire's new head coach Andrew MacDonald, and captain Mark Cosgrove, chose to go into the match without a specialist spinner, and a battery of seamers found it hard to bowl a consistent line and length in the gusting wind.

Sheik, coming down the hill from the Bennett End, was the only bowler to find any lift in the pitch, and should have had Rudolph before he scored, only for Ned Eckersley to fail to hold a difficult chance above his head at third slip.

Sheik also saw Rudolph dropped off his bowling by Ben Raine at cover point when the batsman had reached 64, another hard chance diving to his left, and Tom Wells was convinced he had Rudolph leg before wicket on 78, but umpire Martin Saggers turned down the impassioned appeal.

The two batsmen had left the previous Glamorgan second-wicket record against Leicestershire - 173 set by Alan Jones and Peter Walker at Ebbw Vale in 1965, and by Dan Cherry and David Hemp at Grace Road in 2006 - well behind by the time Rudolph reached his century, off 164 balls, with 14 fours.

He and Bragg batted through the entire afternoon session without being parted, but in the first over after tea, Rudolph fenced at a quick rising delivery from Sheik and edged a catch behind to O'Brien for 111.

Bragg, who scored six championship fifties last season without once reaching three figures, went on to a chanceless century, off 183 balls, also including 14 fours, and was still unbeaten on 113 when bad light and then rain forced the umpires to call play off after 72 overs.


FT: Leeds 1-2 Cardiff

Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson scores his sides second goal of the game Credit: PA

Cardiff City beat Leeds 2-1 away at Elland Road despite their lack of support thanks to a boycott by fans over tickets.

Sean Morrison scored the first goal for the bluebirds, with Leeds' Kalvin Phillips equaling the score shortly after.

A second goal by Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson put his side ahead with Leeds unable to close the gap.

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