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Rugby morning headlines as Lions players set to jump Covid-19 jabs queue and Wales star reveals depth of gambling problem

Wales Online logo Wales Online 17/05/2021 09:25:30 Glen Williams

Here are your rugby morning headlines for Monday, May 17.

Lions players to move up jabs list

The British and Irish Lions squad are set to be moved up the list to receive their full Covid-19 vaccinations before travelling to South Africa.

Many of the players are yet to have even their first jabs due to the age-based schedule being rolled out across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

But the Times report UK cabinet ministers have urged Boris Johnson to move the players, as well as Team GB's Olympians to the top of the list to receive their jabs.

Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, is understood to be convinced of the case for giving jabs to the squad.

The Lions' first match in South Africa will be held on July 3.

Welsh international opens up on gambling addiction

Former Wales international Scott Baldwin has candidly opened up on the extent of his gambling struggles.

Baldwin, who earned the last of his 34 Wales caps back in 2017, has lifted the lid on how a crippling betting addiction impacted his career both on and off the pitch.

It started to become a real issue when the hooker was loaned to a team in Milan from the Ospreys a decade ago and he became addicted to online roulette.

It progressed to such an extent that on the day of the biggest game of his career, the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final against South Africa, he was gambling until just 10 minutes before he got on the team bus for Twickenham.

"I remember the morning of the World Cup quarter-final," he told RugbyPass.

"Looking back now it [gambling] was an excuse to take my mind off the game, to take my mind off my stresses and it would be a release for me. I just remember the morning of the quarter-final I was on my phone gambling literally up until 10 minutes before we left on the bus thinking 'oh this is keeping me relaxed' but actually it was probably the worst thing I could have been doing because consciously or subconsciously I'd be thinking about it 24/7.

"In the end, I had a moment where I won a lot and then lost a lot and I had a chat with my wife about it. Then I got approached by the BBC, someone I know in Wales who knew a little about my issues. He didn't know much depth about it because I kept it quite personal, but he asked me would I be willing to do a podcast on it because he thought it would help other people so I agreed.

"I never intended to be as honest as I was in that conversation but when I was in there I felt it was the right thing to do and I thought if it helps one person it's worth doing, but I hadn't actually told my father-in-law about my addiction. As soon as I got off the pod I phoned my wife and said I needed to speak to your dad and I was thinking the worst.

"I was thinking he was going to disown me, that he is not going to be happy. He had never given me any reason to think this, this was just my thoughts, but he listened to the podcast, phoned me up and said how proud he was of me for doing that."

Dean Ryan fires warning at PRO14 bosses

Dean Ryan has issued a warning to Guinness PRO14 chiefs who have introduced new law trials for the Rainbow Cup.

'Be careful' was the message from the Dragons boss after his side's 42-26 defeat to the Ospreys on Sunday afternoon.

During the match, Ollie Griffiths - playing for the first time since March after overcoming a bicep injury - was penalised following a captain's challenge from the Ospreys' Justin Tipuric.

The polarising law trial was brought in for this competition and resulted in Griffiths being pinged for a high tackle on Owen Watkin in the first half of the match.

It's a trial that has been a huge source of debate and been scrapped in the southern hemisphere after it was trialled in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Ryan seemed to suggest he wanted the same to happen in the north.

"It's difficult for referees but those who have imposed a trial on us need to be very careful what they're after," said Ryan.

"We've got people asking for high shots to be reviewed and ultimately somebody could get sent off. Is that really what we want our game to be?

"We've just got to work it out. Ollie Griffiths hasn't played for a number of weeks. We had one last week as well.

"It's a trial and it's great learning. Please learn from it and do something with it.

"You've got to look at its unintended consequences. I understand why it was introduced but I think elaborating on what the TMO can come in for might solve it.

"We certainly don't want to find ourselves in a situation where professionals [players] are looking at things like foul play. I don't think that's where the game needs to go."

You can read everything the Dragons boss had to say here.

The Gallagher Premiership rumour mill

England international Denny Solomona has held talks with Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam over a move from Sale Sharks, according to The Rugby Paper.

Solomona, who hails from Auckland just like Lam, is under contract up at Sale next season, but the Sharks have seemingly allowed the winger to speak with their Premiership rivals over a potential move.

The prolific try-scorer has scored 47 tries in 92 games for the AJ Bell outfit.

Also, fellow England international Henry Thomas is a target for La Rochelle, according to the same outlet.

The tighthead, who has seven Test caps to his name. has been with Bath for seven seasons but is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronan O'Gara is thought to be eyeing up a move for the prop ahead of next season.

And, finally, Perpignon are reportedly interested in landing Harlequins flyer Nathan Earle.

The French outfit have just won the Pro D2 and, according to The Rugby Paper, are interested in signing the former Saracens winger to bolster their squad ahead of next season's Top 14 campaign.

lundi 17 mai 2021 12:25:30 Categories: Wales Online

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