Here are the latest rugby headlines on the evening of Saturday, June 25.
Welsh rugby star Jenkins weds
Wales rugby star Ellis Jenkins has married his actress and singer girlfriend Sophie Evans.
Sophie posted a photo of her new husband on her Instagram on Saturday and captioned it: “Officially Mr and Mrs. Jenkins. 2022 is our biggest year yet. Love you so much.”
The couple tied the knot on Saturday, a fortnight after revealing they are also expecting their first child in December. Jenkins announced the happy news on his Instagram account, posting a picture of the pair during their holiday in Ibiza holding an ultrasound snap.
The pair got engaged on Christmas Day last year after the Cardiff skipper popped the question.
Jenkins was cut from Wayne Pivac’s Six Nations squad just four months after winning plaudits after his triumphant Test return against South Africa last autumn. He hasn’t been included in the touring party to head to the home of the world champions this summer.
Tonypandy’s Sophie rose to stardom as a finalist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s talent show Over The Rainbow, went on to play Dorothy in the hit stage show The Wizard Of Oz and most recently reprized her role of Glinda in smash West End hit Wicked.
Wales U20s shine
Wales U20s began the summer series in style as they blew away Scotland 45-15 in Treviso.
Byron Hayward’s side scored seven tries as they outclassed their opponents in a seriously impressive display.
You can read more about the match here.
Smith and Farrell unit
Marcus Smith insists he is ready to unite with Owen Farrell as England’s twin playmakers look to channel their competitive spirits against Australia.
Eddie Jones is likely to entrust Smith and Farrell with the keys to England’s attack in the series opener at Perth’s Optus Stadium just three weeks after they clashed in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals.
Farrell’s Saracens were triumphant that day, but he is likely to be moved from his preferred position at fly-half to inside center to accommodate Smith, who has been Jones’ first choice in the position.
It was a creative axis seen only for 68 minutes against the Wallabies in the autumn and while it showed promise, successive ankle injuries affected Farrell’s season.
Now working in tandem as part of England’s squad that will clash with Australia over three Tests beginning on July 2, Smith is enjoying the chance join forces once again.
“Owen’s a brilliant player. I loved playing with him in the autumn,” Harlequins outside-half Smith said.
“He’s a massive competitor and wears his heart on his sleeve. More than that, he’s got brilliant vision and skills at the line.
“We trained together a couple of weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I’ve loved learning off him and bouncing ideas off him.
“We complement each other nicely – we both see the game pretty similarly. I hope we can both come together and get the best out of each other.
“Hopefully I can be there to get the best out of him and allow him to show his skills at the park. Hopefully he can also allow me to show the best of me.
“If we can do that together and continue to build our relationship off the field, I think it will lead to good results and days on the field.
“Hopefully we can put our competitive edge together to try and get a Test series win. Both of us want to do that. We’ve spoken long and hard about it.”
Anscombe was absent from Wales team flight
Gareth Anscombe will fly out to join the Wales squad in South Africa this evening having been given permission to stay at home for a couple of extra days for family reasons. The fly-half’s wife Milica is expecting their second child imminently, so he has been allowed to travel out a couple of days later than the rest of the squad, who departed from Heathrow on Thursday, heading for Johannesburg.
He has no injury issue and there is no change to the 34-man party selected by Wayne Pivac for the three-Test series against the Springboks. The 31-cap Anscombe will provide an option at both fly-half and full-back with his versatility.
He will contest the No 10 position with tour captain Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell, while providing cover for Liam Williams – the one specialist No 15 in the squad – at full-back. The first Test against the world champion Springboks will be staged at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria next Saturday.
All Black’s heartache
The partner of former All Black Carl Hayman has described how he now asks her what is the point in living after his dementia diagnosis.
In an interview with the Guardian, Kiko Matthews and Hayman explained how his diagnosis came as he also suffered depression and headaches, leaving him now questioning whether life is worth living.
“Carl will say, and I totally get where he’s coming from: ‘What’s the point in living? It’s only going to get worse. I’ve got headaches every day. I can’t function. And this is as good as it’s going to get.’ There is no cure.”
The couple and their infant daughter now live in New Plymouth, where they run a boat-charter business. “Carl has joked about going out to sea on his boat,” she said. “Put in so much fuel and just go in one direction. And, you know, the fuel’s going to run out eventually…”
Last year, Hayman joined a class-action lawsuit being prepared by former players alleging rugby federations, failed to protect them from the risks of concussion.
Looking back on his career, he said: “I was a commodity, and I understood that. It’s like that scene in Saving Private Ryan, when the guy tells the bloke with shell shock: ‘When you can accept you’re dead, you can function as a soldier.’
“That rang true from a rugby point of view. Once you accept your body’s screwed and you have no respect for it, you become an awesome player. Now I’m sort of paying the price a wee bit.”
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