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Wales Online
Wales Online
Matthew Southcombe

Tonight's rugby news as Wales international joins Welsh Premiership and Taine Basham injury update issued

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Thursday, October 20.

Beck joins Welsh Premiership side Merthyr

Welsh international Ashley Beck has signed for Premiership club Merthyr RFC after being left without a job following Worcester Warriors' demise.

Earlier this month, the Premiership club fell into administration following a demand for £6m in unpaid tax from HM Revenue and Customs. The company which paid employees of the club was liquidated, leaving the entire on and off-field staff out of work.

Beck has now found a home in Merthyr, where the club have vowed to release him should offers from professional clubs materialise.

Merthyr chairman Justin Griffiths said: "Merthyr RFC is deeply saddened to watch from afar the difficulties faced by Worcester Warriors and Wasps Rugby. Our thoughts go out to all associated with both rugby clubs. Whilst the news headline will always focus on the shock demise of a rugby club or clubs, behind every big story, is the unimaginable and immediate impact on displaced individuals and their families. An impact made more complex by the raging cost of living crisis, currently affecting the majority of society.

"Like many others from across the rugby family, we have been eager to explore how we might support. We are delighted to announce that we have been able to offer employment to ex-Warriors, Ospreys and Wales centre Ashley Beck, Ashley joining the Ironmen until the end of the current playing season.

"We are conscious that offers from fully professional rugby clubs might materialise in the coming days/weeks. Should a more suitable option surface, we have committed to release Ashley at his request.

"We strongly believe our offer of employment has many benefits, first and foremost in offering Ashley and his family the stability of employment. Beyond this, we believe Ashley’s undoubted skillset and experience will offer plenty, both on and off the field. In particular we have a young talented backline, as well as a thriving youth, junior and minis section, who will benefit hugely from Ashley’s experience, presence and tutelage. We are also confident that Ashley’s profile will be of significant value to our club and to the Indigo Premiership brand. We hope you will join with us in welcoming Ashley to the Wern, a positive outcome in extremely difficult circumstances."

Read more: Wales full-back plan 'a real concern' as no outright successor on the horizon

Basham injury 'not as bad' as first feared

Dragons and Wales back-rower Taine Basham has received an injury boost after it was revealed his elbow injury is not as bad as originally feared.

The all-action flanker suffered a painful elbow dislocation during the defeat to Cardiff last weekend and was not available for selection in the upcoming autumn internationals. But he has not required an operation, which means his rehabilitation will not be as long as first feared.

"There is no surgery, which is great news," Dragons scrum guru Mefin Davies said. "He's in good hands and it's about following those protocols now. It's a big relief that he doesn't need surgery, it's a huge boost for us. It's just a matter of settling down and making sure he's strong enough to recover. Hopefully we'll see Taine sooner rather than later.

"With surgery, you have to be very careful for a few weeks before building up strength and recovering. That would be a more guaranteed fixed time but I'm not a medic, so I can't guarantee anything with regards to that. But I do know that it's not as bad as first thought. It [Basham's elbow] is back in, everything has settled, everything is good and it's just a matter of him feeling comfortable."

He added: "The unfortunate thing is that Taine is injured. That was unlucky for him because he's been playing well at the start of this season, I feel for him because it was a big shop window opportunity for him, playing against Thomas Young, who is also playing well. That was just a good contest and I just feel for Taine."

Beard coy on captaincy chat

Wales lock Adam Beard is not allowing himself to become distracted after being hotly tipped to captain his country this autumn. The towering second row was earmarked as a future Test captain by Warren Gatland and has continued to develop as a leader under Wayne Pivac and at regional level with Toby Booth's Ospreys.

Having taken on more of a leadership role, he is thought to be at the head of the queue to take over the captaincy from injured Dan Biggar, who will miss the upcoming November internationals with a knee injury.

As for his chances of captaining Wales next month, Beard said: “First and foremost, I have to be picked. As long as my performances are there on the pitch, I’ll let those do the talking.

“I want to keep working hard with the Ospreys. I don’t think I’m the finished article. I consider the set-piece my point of difference, but I feel I can still make improvements there, while there’s also my ball-carrying, work at the contact area, my tackling - every sort of aspect. I feel can still push on. I’m still hungry, still wanting to learn and still wanting to improve.”

Confirming he enjoys leadership roles, he added: “I still feel I have a bit to learn, but there are no better people to learn from than the ones in the environments I’m in. My second-row partner at the Ospreys, after all, is the most-capped player in the game and has captained Wales, Ospreys, the Lions, everyone. And there are other good leaders around the park.

“I still think it’s a work in progress, but whenever I’m given the opportunity to have a leadership role, whether it involves bossing the set-piece or being vice-captain or captain, I’m enjoying the opportunity.”

Wales boss conflicted after RLWC loss

By Andrew Lawton at Leigh Sports Village

John Kear admitted to a mixture of pride and disappointment as he hailed Wales’ performance in the 18-12 defeat against Cook Islands as their “best in a long time”.

Tries from Rhodri Lloyd and Ollie Olds, either side of a response from Anthony Gelling, saw Kear’s side take a 12-8 lead into the interval in Leigh and they continued to hold firm at the start of the second half.

But Davvy Moare’s score on the hour mark drew the Kukis level and Steven Marsters dotted down in the corner to stretch the lead.

Wales kept fighting but spurned an opportunity to level after an overlap had opened up in the dying seconds, leaving Kear to reflect on a case of what might have been.

“We have some key performance indicators and the players certainly met them,” he said.

“We’ve earned the respect of a lot of people and I think that’s the best Welsh rugby league performance for a long, long time.

“I’m immensely proud of the players and the effort they’ve put in. We are one of the lower-ranked teams within the group and we have a lot of part-time players.

“We demonstrated that being part-time isn’t just about ability, sometimes it’s about life circumstances.

“Anyone who watched that had full value for money and will have come away with a lot of admiration for anyone who wore red.”

Wales were beaten 38-22 by Lebanon in their sole warm-up fixture but started brightly their Group D opener brightly, Lloyd latching on to Josh Ralph’s deft grubber kick to open the scoring.

Esan Marsters set Gelling free to level but Wales ended the half with an advantage courtesy of Olds, who dummied his way over.

The half-time score had Wales dreaming of a first World Cup win since 2000 and though they were denied, Kear is backing his players to pick themselves up for what remains of the tournament.

“All you can ask your players to do is get better and that’s what they are doing,” he said. It’s difficult at this moment in time as there’s the emotion involved and we’re all disappointed to be so near yet so far. But the team spirit is fantastic. We energise each other, enjoy each other’s company and we are growing as a team.”

*The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via*

Wasps Women set to continue

Wasps' administrators are "confident" the club's women's team will play in the Premier 15s this season after the Coventry-based club entered administration on Monday, making 167 players and staff redundant.

Wasps' men's side have been suspended and relegated from the Premiership but the women's domestic top-flight competition does not begin until November this year due to the ongoing World Cup.

"We will do all we can," FRP Advisory's Andrew Sheridan told BBC Sport. "I'm confident they [Wasps Women] will be able to play in the Allianz 15s when it starts after the World Cup in November. We are working with the RFU, doing all that we can do to facilitate that happening."

Despite being affiliated with Wasps, the women's side are actually attached to amateur club Wasps FC and play most of their home games at the latter's Twyford Avenue base in London. Mr Sheridan admitted funding for playing personnel and adequate medical provision would be key concerns.

Read more:

Six Nations set for Netflix documentary to emulate Drive to Survive

How good is Dane Blacker, the new Wales scrum-half the Scarlets don't pick in starting XV?

Pivac names World Cup bolter he hasn't yet picked

Famous Welsh rugby club ask to be removed from league in 'heartbreaking' move

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