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Ystradgynlais rugby players to take on 12-hour run to help youngsters travel to Holland

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

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WALES will need dedication and focus if they are to beat France in the Six Nations today.

And if they are looking for inspiration, they won't go far wrong looking to the example of members of one of the clubs in their rugby heartlands.

For long before most of you woke up this morning, members of Ystradgynlais Rugby Club have been up and out, running with ball in hand, as they aimed to keep it alive for a full 12 hours — finishing just in time before kick-off in Paris.

The relay run, which was due to kick off at 4am, was part of their fundraising drive to send their under-11s team to the Hilversum rugby tournament in Holland at Easter.

And it is due to be completed in time for competitors to settle down and watch Robert Howley's team try to break their horrendous run of results.

Andrew Lloyd Hughes, who coaches the under-11 team, said: "The relay will start in darkness, when one runner will start with the ball outside the club, run for an hour, before passing it to the next runner, until daylight arrives.

"During daylight hours, they will do laps of the recreation ground and collect money in a bucket outside the club.

"The under-11 players will take part in the afternoon.

"Some people have suggested we might start later, and pretend we got up for the early start, but we are going to do it properly.

"I'm the first runner, but I hope to be able to get a bit of sleep in the day before Wales play."

The under-11s have been invited to take part in the tournament, after the club hit the headlines last year.

The team became possibly the first in the world to wear special jerseys fitted with QR code — which allows it to be read on mobile phones if a bar code, similar to those used in supermarkets, is swiped on the jerseys.

It includes information of future fixtures and arrangements, and was designed to help parents keep up-to-date with what they needed to know.

Andrew added: "We think we were the first club in the world to use the digital technology. The story went global, it was read about in places like New Zealand and in Canada. It led to an influx of players for the team, and we now have about 30 in the under 11s.

"It was picked up by a guy in Holland, which is what led to the invitation to the tournament."

To date, the club has already raised £4,000 to enable all the youngsters to attend the tournament without having to pay.

They are around £500 short of their target, which is a shortfall they hope today's running event will meet.

Andrew said: "We are hoping if people are around the club on Saturday, they will give generously, and help to send the team on their way to Holland, to spread the gospel of Ystrad rugby to the continent."

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