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Rugby club at the heart of Nant Conwy

Rugby club at the heart of Nant Conwy

“It’s a very strange time, with everything coming to a standstill.”

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The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly had a tremendous impact on the sporting world. From international arenas to the playing fields of our towns and villages.

Everyone has had to adapt, and that’s certainly true of the work of Llion Jones from Nant Conwy Rugby Club.

For the past two years, Llion has worked as a Hub Officer employed by Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy, Ysgol Creuddyn and Nant Conwy RFC.

But with rugby on pause, the 24-year-old has put his head down and found other ways to make a positive contribution to his community. As he explains: “My role has changed now. I’m not a rugby officer but a community officer.

“We’ve set up a community network for elderly and vulnerable people in the area, and there’s a set-up where people call me, and a team of us help dispense medicine, or go to shop for those people who need a helping hand.

“It shows the role that the rugby club plays in the local community.

“I’ve also been tasking the children with making sure they don’t lose touch with rugby. We send each other skills videos and it reminds them that they can continue to work on their rugby skills at home.

“It’s a challenge at times, but we’re doing our best to keep things going at the moment. A good way to do that is by running different competitions, and we’ve been using apps like Strava to do that. It’s been fun!”

As a club, Nant Conwy has enjoyed a great deal of success over recent years.

In addition to winning Division 1 North in 2018, the first team reached the National Plate final.

Despite losing to Brynmawr at Principality Stadium, Llion has found that the club’s success has inspired the young people of the area to join in and participate.

“Over the last six or seven years, the club has continued to grow and the success has obviously helped.

“The junior section of the club is huge at the moment, and that’s because of the success on the pitch, and the result of what the whole club is trying to achieve.

“It’s a club that plays an important role in the community, as well as the local school, and they are all connected to each other.

“As well as hosting games, we’ve seen the club and the pitch host music festivals over the summer, and we have other clubs like the Cycling Club and the Running Club that use the facilities. There are a lot of things going on.”

During the week, Llion splits his time between Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy, Ysgol y Creuddyn and a number of primary schools in the area, and at weekends he also turns out for the rugby club’s teams.

Prior to taking up this post, he was part of the Urdd team based in Glan-llyn, Bala.

That experience prepared him for a role with the Welsh Rugby Union, and he prides himself on being able to practise his trade through the medium of Welsh.

“I worked for the Urdd for four years before getting this job,” said Llion.

“My predecessor was the first team coach at Nant Conwy. He was retiring so I jumped at the chance, and I’ve been here for two years now.

“The Urdd was a good platform to help me get into this job. That experience of running activities with children is part of my job now too and every session and lesson is inclusive, and I think the Urdd has helped me with that.

“About 80 per cent of the club members speak Welsh, and although Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy is officially a bilingual school, a high percentage of the pupils speak Welsh fluently.

“Welsh is my first language and I do a lot of the lessons and training sessions through the medium of Welsh.

“It’s a rural area with lots of farms, and Welsh is the first language of the club and the area. It’s part of the club’s identity.”

This article is translated from the original #CymryCymraeg series. 

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