A very familiar name starts Saturday’s game at loose head prop against RGC 1404: Ross Jones makes his 200th appearance for the Steelmen after joining the club following our relegation to Division 1 East eight years ago. Ross joined us for the second time from Bargoed following a call from the new coach at the time, Neil Edwards who had briefly played with Ross and rated him highly. Nelly made him a key part of our pack, even giving him the role of steering the driving line out, and in that first season Ross crossed for 10 tries, which accounts for most of his touchdowns in an Ebbw Vale shirt. Each coach has relied on his undoubted prowess in the scrum to build a dominant pack that has been a key part of the DNA of the club as we had league triumph after triumph. Ross has also been one of the key players who the coaching staff have relied on to drive standards of work on the training field, on match day and pride in the Steelmen shirt.
Ross has enjoyed many excellent performances, a memorable one being in the famous “17 minutes of extra time” cup game at the Arms Park when Ebbw, who were in the Championship, held on for a famous victory over Cardiff. During that game Ross gave his initial opponent a torrid time, leading Cardiff to introduce Campese Mafu into the fray, only for the Cardiff Blues and Samoan international prop to find himself in all sorts of trouble in the scrum. The same player went on to star in the World Cup and English Premiership, which just shows Ross’s quality as a scrummager. Deep into injury time, with two forwards in the sin bin, Ross was a key part of the pack that ensured we held on to our own ball in a frantic finish.
A gentleman off the field, Ross’s arrival as a member of the exclusive 200 club will certainly be greeted with delight by the Addicts.