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Ospreys hooker Ifan Phillips seriously injured in Swansea motorbike collision

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Ospreys hooker Ifan Phillips has been involved in a serious road traffic accident.

The 25-year-old is the son of Neath rugby legend Kevin Phillips

South Wales Police are appealing for more information about the collision on the B4603 Morfa Road involving a Triumph street scrambler and a Kawasaki motorbike.

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In a statement, the Ospreys said: “The Ospreys can confirm hooker Ifan Phillips was involved in a serious road traffic accident in Swansea on Sunday afternoon and is now being treated at Morriston Hospital.

“Ifan is in a stable condition and he is uppermost in the thoughts of all of us at the Ospreys.

“On behalf of his team-mates, coaches, staff, all Ospreys supporters and the rugby community, we want to extend our full support to Ifan, his family and his friends.

“The family are overwhelmed and very grateful for the support they have received in the last few days.

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“The Ospreys request that Ifan and his family are given privacy at this difficult time.”

South Wales Police issued a statement appealing for more information about the collision: “Officers are appealing for witnesses following a serious road traffic collision that occurred at around 1.38pm on Sunday, December 5, 2021, on the B4603, Morfa Road, Landore, Swansea, opposite Landore Social Club.

“The collision involved two motorcycles, a green Triumph Street Scrambler and a Kawasaki. One rider was taken to hospital where he remains and is being treated for life-changing injuries.

“The road was closed for a number of hours whilst investigations continued and we thank anyone affected during this time for their patience.

“We would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision or has dashcam footage, anyone who stopped to provide assistance, or anyone who saw the motorcycles prior to the collision.”

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People are asked to contact police online, by emailing SWP101@south-wales.police.uk or by phoning 101 quoting reference 424657 if they have more information about the collision.

(Lead image: WRU)

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Art

Former Ospreys player and Paralympic athlete showcases his artwork in new exhibition

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Ospreys rugby player turned Paralympic discus thrower Harrison Walsh from Swansea is this month showcasing his talents away from the athletics stadium and in an art gallery.

London’s Zari Gallery is featuring The Art of the Athlete – an exhibition which runs from 9-27 May and is inspired by sport. Walsh – who is hoping to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer – is just one of the artists and he has submitted portraits of Kelly Holmes and Roger Bannister:

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Harrison Walsh

“My work is in pen and ink and I tend to sketch when I’m away at training camps. It’s a bit surreal to be part of an exhibition but I feel really honoured to be part of it.”

The exhibition will raise funds for The Ron Pickering Memorial Fund and the Lloyd Cowan Bursary which was set up by Olympic 400m Champion Christina Ohuruogu after the death of her legendary coach. Both causes raise funds for the next generation of athletic stars.

Walsh spent his youth climbing the Welsh rugby ranks. A professional rugby player for the Ospreys, the prop had played for Wales’ under 16s, 18s and had been selected for the under 20s. But his dreams were dashed in a career-ending injury at the age of 18 in 2015.

But since discovering athletics, Walsh has won bronze at the European Championships in the discus and holds the world record in the shot. And after just four years of training, he was selected for the Tokyo Paralympics

“My time in rugby was cut short so I didn’t achieve my success in but I feel it is bubbling now and that my time is coming.

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“I love throwing. Athletics has given me so much; it’s the best thing to ever happen to me. If I could ony say to that scared 18-year-old, you’ll find a real passion and you’ll be ok.”

Harrison’s work will be on display from 9-27 May 2022 at Zari Gallery, 73 Newman Street, London, W1T 3EJ.

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Charity

Ospreys star helps kick off mental health awareness week activities

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As Action for Children marks Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), the charity recently celebrated its Bouncing Back Plus mental health partnership with Ospreys in the Community with a huge event at the Academy of Sport in Llandarcy.

Hundreds of primary school children joined the celebrations and were treated to rugby sessions, craft workshops, music therapy and mental health classes with Ospreys star, Lloyd Ashley.

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The charity teamed up with the rugby region’s community arm over the autumn and spring terms to deliver a combination of classroom-based Cognitive and Dialectical behavioural therapy (CBT and DBT) techniques and physical exercises such as touch rugby on the playground.

Bouncing Back Plus has become increasingly important as recent Action for Children research showed nearly a third of children across UK (32%) said that school does not provide enough emotional support for them with 28% of parents agreeing.

The children the charity polled in Wales were the least satisfied with support received in schools with 28% saying they received a great or good amount of practical support and only a quarter (25%) reporting getting the same level of emotional support.

Primary school kids from the Ospreys region enjoying craft sessions

Caryl Dyer manages the Bouncing Back Plus programme for Action for Children in the region and said: “The celebration was wonderful. We wanted to run an event to celebrate the success of the programme as we’ve worked with 15 primary schools and almost 800 children in 6 months. The programme is critical for the mental health and wellbeing of our primary school children especially in light of the Covid-blighted period they have been through.

“We wanted to invite everyone along and enjoy a bit of normality and the elements of mental wellbeing and physical exercise in lots of different workshops. It’s been a roaring success working with Ospreys in the Community, the partnership has gone from strength to strength and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it,” she added.

Holly, 11, from Coed Hirwaun Primary School enjoyed the celebration and said: “It’s been really good and a lot of fun. We did lots of activities and I really liked doing ‘capture the flag’ and making stress balls.”

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Tyler, also 11, from Pontlliw Primary School, added: “The day was fun, I enjoyed the rugby and the stress ball class. I enjoyed all of it, really.”

The children enjoyed a host of physical exercise activities as well as wellbeing sessions

At the end of each Bouncing Back Plus programme, each participant receives a Mental Health First Aid Kit, providing them with resources that support them to manage their mood and sustain improvements in their emotional wellbeing. The process also supports us to identify those young people who may need a higher-tier intervention.

Tom Sloane, Foundation Manager at Ospreys in the Community, said: ‘It’s really good to see that this programme is around supporting kids, building confidence, resilience and supporting mental health and wellbeing through physical and emotional sessions.

“The celebration ties off the last two years really nicely and it’s great to do that in partnership with Action for Children.

“It’s a really positive relationship we’ve got as official charity partners and we’re looking forward to the next year working together as this programme grows and hopefully, we can help even more children.’

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Fitness

Welsh rugby stars’ ambitions to ensure everyone in Wales has access to fitness and wellbeing activities

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The Wales rugby stars behind an app which aims to give people of all ages and abilities straightforward access to workouts, fitness activities and exclusive offers are seeking funding of £300,000 as part of ambitious plans to ensure their market disrupting platform is downloaded and used across the whole of Wales, before turning their attention to the rest of the UK.

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Ospreys and Wales Rugby International, Alex Cuthbert (Image: Fitap)

Fitap, which launched in the midst of lockdown in 2020, brings the world of fitness and wellbeing into one easily accessible app in order to create and reward a community of people who enjoy staying physically and mentally active. 

The team behind the already popular app, which includes Wales rugby stars Alex Cuthbert and Gareth Anscombe, now hope to extend its features, as well as build a sales team and increase marketing through crowdfunding.

“Our aim is to leverage technology to make staying fit easier, cheaper and more enjoyable,” says Wales rugby international Alex Cuthbert, “Sometimes people get intimidated about physically going to a gym or exploring activities to help their mental health and wellbeing, but this makes access easier.”

In a survey of current users, 71% said that Fitap helped them find either facilities or online sessions, with 92% saying they’d recommend it. 

Alex adds, “I’ve played rugby for most of my life, and it really makes you feel like you’re part of a family. We want to help customers find their passion, and in doing so, help them meet new people with similar interests. What’s better than getting physically and mentally healthier, whilst also feeling part of a community?”

Wales and Ospreys rugby star, Gareth Anscombe (Image: Fitap)

For business partner and fellow Wales and Ospreys teammate, Gareth Anscombe, Fitap is the passion project that kept him busy when struggling psychologically after being ruled out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with knee ligament damage.

He says that for people starting their fitness journey, it can be a minefield; “The gym isn’t for everybody and, when it comes to wellbeing, it’s important to provide support for those who’ve had a few setbacks in life. 

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“For me, in rugby, there’s been great times, but it’s not always smooth sailing. I feel it’s important to provide support and make talking about fitness and mental health more accessible.”

The app, which is free for users, charges businesses a fee to be listed in return for promotion to members of the public who want to find new ways to get active.

“Because advertising costs tend to be high and therefore too risky for individual fitness providers to try, nobody currently owns consumers’ minds in this space. We aim to!” says business partner, Dean Jones, who has a background in marketing and advertising. 

Those with enquiries can find out more on the Fitap website and invest using the Crowdcube platform.

(Lead image: Fitap)

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