Josh Matavesi took the honours at the Ospreys, but it is Matthew Pewtner who Superfast Cymru has named the ‘Superfast Challenge winner’ for this season.
The search has been on in recent weeks to find the quickest back and forward in Welsh rugby in the “Superfast Challenge” as part of the growing partnership between the four Welsh professional teams and BT Sport and BT Cymru Wales.
Pro Rugby Wales and the Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues have been working closely with main sponsor BT Sport and BT Cymru Wales on a number of initiatives to promote participation and engagement in the game in Wales with the lastest challenge set to champion some of Wales’ most explosive and speedy rugby players of the current 2014/15 season.
The Superfast Cymru 20m sprint challenge kicked off in February with the Newport Gwent Dragons players putting down a marker to their regional colleagues with their pace. This challenge was accepted by the Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets with players from each region putting in some superfast displays of their own.
And it was the 6ft 3” 24-year-old Wales 7s and Dragons flying winger, Pewtner who raced home to win the title with a stunning time of 2.52s over the 20m sprint beating off some tough international class competition across the four Pro Teams in Wales.
The top placed Superfast forwards and backs in each of the four pro teams were;
- Ospreys back Josh Matavesi (2.74s) forward Dan Baker (2.86s)
- Cardiff Blues back Aled Summerhill (2.72s) forward Macaulay Cooke (2.89s)
- Scarlets back Kyle Evans (2.68s) forward Sion Bennett (2.74s)
The Superfast Cymru “Superfast Challenge” gave both backs and forwards the opportunity to record the best times over a 20m sprint on the rugby field as part of their weekly training sessions overseen by conditioning and analysis staff.
The new challenge that launched this season will continue in 2015/16 and coincides with a high profile awareness campaign across Wales led by Superfast Cymru on the benefits of homes and businesses harnessing the efficiencies of high speed broadband provision in Wales.
The multi-million pound Superfast Cymru programme is a partnership between the Welsh Government, UK Government, European Regional Development Fund and BT programme and is bringing high-speed fibre broadband across Wales.
Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Skills & Technology, Julie James said: “I’d like to congratulate Matthew Pewtner for being named the Superfast Challenge winner for this season. It’s not only on the rugby field that superfast speeds matter. It’s important in our technology too. The Superfast Cymru programme is bringing faster broadband speeds to communities across Wales, with more premises gaining access to it every day.”
BT Director for Wales, Ann Beynon said: "We are delighted with our first year in partnership with Welsh Pro Rugby – it’s been a brilliant start with many more exciting initiatives in the pipeline for next season.
“The Superfast Challenge champions the talents of our next generation of rugby players in Wales who have made their mark this season. Just as the Welsh professional teams are providing the infrastructure to fast-track rugby development and support new talent, we are providing the infrastructure to give people and businesses in Wales the opportunity to harness faster speeds and achieve greater productivity.
“Superfast Cymru is a hugely ambitious programme that will place Wales at the forefront of broadband technology. The economic impact of such a programme cannot be underestimated as it will provide an environment allowing businesses to establish and flourish.
“The telecommunications industry, like sport, is one of continual and rapid change and as business we have adapted fast - investing in innovation and enabling ground-breaking technologies. BT Cymru Wales is fully aware of its responsibility as a thriving anchor company in Wales and the potential for helping improve quality of life. Our work with Pro Rugby in Wales creates new opportunities to reach communities and ensure we are harnessing the potential to help increase productivity and prosperity.”
Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales, which represents the Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons, Mark Davies said: “Our partnership between BT Sport and BT Cymru Wales has strengthened over the course of this, our first season with BT Sport as main sponsor of the four Welsh professional rugby sides.
“The Superfast Challenge has given the opportunity for some of the lesser-known players in our squads who work hard all season in their Regions to show their talent and it’s certainly brought out the competitive spirit between them with some fun, friendly rivalry in the process across the four rugby set-ups. We hope to expand on the intiative next season with BT as well as working on a number of exciting initiatives over the course of the three-year partnership to celebrate our game in Wales based on a shared philosophy to inspire more to enjoy rugby and to support and benefit our communities as sport and technology works hand-in-hand.”
To celebrate the partnership and Superfast Cymru Challenge – this weekend ALL FOUR of Wales Professional teams will have the Superfast Cymru logo appearing on their playing and training kit at each of the big Guinness PRO12 fixtures: Friday 8th May - Ospreys v Glasgow (Liberty Stadium 7.34pm KO) & Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh (Rodney Parade, 7.30pm KO) and the final Welsh derby of the season Sunday 10th May Scarlets v Cardiff Blues (Parc y Scarlets KO 4pm) and will be joined by Superfast Cymru mascot “Dewi”.