Your top rugby night news for Wednesday 27th December.

Merthyr RFC head coach resigns

Merthyr RFC manager Rowland Phillips has resigned.

The news was announced ahead of Merthyr’s match against Llandovery in the Indigo Welsh Championship.

Phillips initially expressed his intention to leave the team at the end of the 2023/24 season, so this week’s news has led to that inevitable conclusion.

Ian Evans and Gareth Davies will take charge of the team this weekend and will lead it until the end of the season.

In a statement, Merthyr thanked him for his work and said: “In closing, we would like to formally thank Rowland for his time at our club and wish him and his family the best for the future. You will always be welcome in Wern. #DolchRowland.”

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Cardiff manager praises Tomos Williams

Cardiff rugby coach Matt Sherratt has revealed what his team will miss if Tomos Williams leaves the club.

The Treorchy Williams product is out of contract next summer and WalesOnline understands Gloucester have become clear favorites to sign him, with the Cherry & Whites confident he will put pen to paper in the near future. The defender is likely to become the last senior international to leave Welsh rugby as he signs a £250,000-a-year contract with the English club.

Williams has 53 caps for Wales so will be eligible for international selection if he decides to leave Wales and move to Kingsholm.

The 28-year-old Welsh international was named man of the match in the afternoon derby victory over the Dragons and was praised by Sherratt.

“Tomos has been brilliant over the last two weeks,” he said. “I can’t say enough about him as a person or as a player. This is probably something you don’t see in him.

“He will always have moments, he can do things that no other player can, he is a very instinctive player. But he scored two tries last week thanks to his efforts alone. His competitive advantage is huge for the team. “

He was previously prevented from doing so because the minimum number of rugby matches outside Wales was 60, but this was later reduced to 25.

The Scarlets will “lick their teeth” for the Dragons clash

Dragons coach Dai Flanagan said the Scarlets will be “licking their teeth” at the prospect of playing the Dragons.

Dwayne Peele’s side suffered a disappointing 25-11 defeat at Parc Y Scarlets against West Wales rivals Ospreys on Boxing Day.

Flanagan’s Dragons suffered a humiliating defeat to East Wales rivals Cardiff Rugby, who defeated his side 55-21 at a packed Cardiff Arms Park.

Continuing the festive derby, the Scarlets face the Dragons at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1) and Flanagan says that after the nine-time demolition they have suffered in the capital, the Scarlets will be favourites.

“If I’m Scarlets, I’m dying to play us,” Flanagan admitted after the horror show in Cardiff. “Put a little pressure on and the Dragons will attack.

“Our performances in Europe were very good and we were comfortable, but we didn’t have half the pressure and intensity that Cardiff put on us. We are broken and we have to understand why this happens in these difficult times, especially on artificial pitches. .

“Glasgow had problems away from home last year (they won 73-33 in the round of 16 of the Challenge Cup) and when teams fall behind we can’t adapt and stay in contention. We have to resolve this.”

“The results hurt,” says the Scarlets captain.

Scarlets captain Josh McLeod says he wants people to know results hurt as the Scarlets continue their poor form.

As mentioned above, the Llanelli team was defeated by the Ospreys, meaning they only won two games this season. The Peel team are currently 14th in the United Rugby Championship table, with the other Welsh Dragons occupying the bottom positions.

Speaking about his poor form, McLeod said: “The result hurts. After that, as a band, we said a lot of people, a lot of our fans, asked us what hurt us. We need people to know that it hurts and I would like to think that it affected performance to some extent.

“There is still a lot to do beforehand, there are a lot of things we need to fix. If we can use them as basic elements, we won’t go far wrong.

“I’m not sure about the statistics, but we weren’t clear enough in the first half, we felt quite dominant. Fair play to them, they tolerate us, but we have to be clearer, we need to score points when we arrive.” When he’s there, he creates pressure and can change the outcome of the game, but that’s for another day.

“Seven months is a long time, the semi-final here against Glasgow was the last time I played and sitting in the stands watching the boys was disappointing, it was an honor to be back.”

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French giants fined for signing Cheslin Kolbe

Toulouse and Toulon were heavily fined over the transfer of rugby star Cheslin Kolbe.

The pair were penalized for “salary cap violations.” Toulouse received £43,000, while Toulon will have to pay £60,000.

Kolbe moved from Toulouse to Toulon in August 2021, two seasons before his Toulouse contract expired.

The breach is said to be related to the payment of £1.5 million for his early dismissal, which breaches the salary cap section of the Disciplinary and Regulatory Committee.

Planet Rugby reports that the pair were sanctioned for “failing to meet their overall commitment to transparency and cooperation”.

Both teams now have a week to appeal the decision. Toulon will appeal the decision, while Toulouse has not yet reacted to the decision.

Toulon said in a statement: “(Toulon) takes note of the decision of the Salary Cap Section of the National Rugby League Regulatory and Disciplinary Committee,” it said in a statement.

“(The club) is satisfied that the committee did not uphold any of the salary cap complaints against it.

“With regard to sanctions imposed for non-compliance with transparency and cooperation obligations, (Toulon) reserves the right to appeal this sanction to the FFR Appeal Committee within the established deadline.”