South West Wales

Nantgaredig rugby team beats Sweden 46-5 on Super Saturday

Swedish rugby team at Nantgaredig RFC
Image caption The Swedish rugby team said they received a "warm welcome" at Nantgaredig RFC

A village in Carmarthenshire hosted its own Super Saturday as a local rugby club took on a national team.

Nantgaredig RFC beat Sweden 46-5 on the final day of the Six Nations rugby tournament.

The village has a population of little more than 500 people.

The match was organised by Nantgaredig coach and committee member, John George "JG" Phillips, and was the first time the club had taken on a country.

Image caption Sweden is 57th in the latest world rugby rankings

Nantgaredig RFC is currently sitting third in the WRU Division 3 West B league, playing the likes of Amman United, Lampeter Town and Llandeilo.

Meanwhile, Sweden is ranked 57th in the world.

Mr Phillips has lived and played rugby in Sweden and is good friends with the elite manager of the Swedish rugby team, Neil Johnson.

At this time of year, Mr Phillips said Sweden has no grass for the rugby team to play on and, with European games against Latvia and Lithuania coming up, the side needed to "get some rugby under their belts".

Image caption Both sides watched Wales' loss to France after the match

The Swedish side has travelled to Carmarthenshire for three days.

They played Carmarthen Athletic in a friendly on Thursday, losing 34 points to 3.

Mr Phillips said before the game: "They looked pretty sharp against Carmarthen Athletic, especially after they'd been training all day.

"They're young, fit, strong guys and the game against us is going to be a tough match.

"For them it's as much about the experience."

Mr Johnson, who is Scottish and has lived in Sweden since 1989, said they had received a "very warm welcome" at Nantgaredig.

"The welcome has been brilliant," he said. "Some of the guys were really surprised just to what level.

"A lot of Swedes go down to New Zealand thinking that it's the heartland of rugby and I say 'you just have to go across to Wales'."

Swedish coach, Mr Johnson, said rugby was the fastest growing team sport in Sweden last year and they are hoping a 10-year strategy focusing on grass roots rugby will boost its profile further.

The match took place at Ystrad Fields, Nantgaredig.

Image copyright JG Phillips
Image caption Mr Phillips has even been washing the Swedish kit

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