Three Pitmen Remain Steelmen

HOME > Three Pitmen Remain Steelmen

Here is the latest round of EVRFC signings ahead of the 2016-17 Premiership season. The sharper among you will have spotted that we’re doing this every couple of days, and that’s the plan for the remainder of the close season, until the squad is completed. Stay tuned!

“The Pitmen” is the nickname of the excellent rugby nursery that is Penallta RFC and their products, Rhys Clarke and Chris Thomas, will enter their 4th season as Steelmen. The third former Pitman, Lloyd Bridges, is entering his first full season with Ebbw Vale having joined mid way through last season.

The last season saw a real breakthrough by the talented back five forward Rhys Clarke. The Players’ Player of the Year nailed down the number 6 jersey with some hugely energetic and skilled performances. Rhys also put in a number of high quality performances in the 4 and 5 shirts and will go through the 100-appearance barrier in the coming season to gain his club cap. This form attracted a number of suitors but Rhys has remained loyal to the Steelmen.

Chris Thomas is another who will break the 100-appearance barrier to gain a coveted club cap and will be looking to build on his success of last season. The scrum half provided a razor sharp service to the outside backs and kept back rows honest with his eye for the gap and blistering acceleration. No one will forget his brilliant last-ditch tackle in the Premiership semi-final at Church Bank, turning the much bigger Llandovery centre over as he crossed the line, a tackle that proved both match-winning and title-winning!

Lloyd Bridges is highly rated by departed forwards coach Ceri Jones, a man who knows what it takes to play prop. Lloyd is expected to challenge strongly for the tight head role in the coming season, but is equally comfortable on the loose head of the scrum. He has also proved himself to have a great attitude, working hard in training and pushing the more experienced players for a place.

Here is the latest news on our squad for what promises to be an exciting season, with visits to Bargoed, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr and Swansea to add to the Addicts’ itinerary. There’ll be more to come on Wednesday evening, so stay tuned!

The club is delighted that the remaining members of our mighty front 5 are all signed up as Steelmen for the coming season.

The highly experienced Gethin Robinson enters his third year at Eugene Cross Park and he will be joined by Ian George who enters his second season in a third spell at loose head prop.

They will be joined by boiler house duo Josh Jacas and Joe Bartlett who both added their talents at crucial times in the Steelmen’s last campaign.

Josh attracted rave reviews starring for Newbridge after returning from a frustrating injury that took two operations and 12 months to return to the field. His pace and size was put to good use in the play off final where his cameo appearance at 6 underlined his potential in the back 5. Joe Bartlett will once again provide reliable and skilled back up to Damian Hudd, a situation he manages very well. With a strong pre season he could well challenge for a starting role.

Here is the latest news on our signings for season 2016-17.

Our aim is to keep supporters up-to-date with all the news that’s fit to print during the close season., starting with all the signings as they’re made available to the website. We’ll post something new every couple of days, at 6 pm, so make sure you keep checking in!

The return of Josh Lewis from the Scarlets will worry all opposing back rows in the Premiership in the coming season. Josh was a prolific point and try scorer for the Steelmen in the title winning team during the first year of the Championship, a feat he maintained in the Premiership for Llanelli.

The signing of Josh is a major statement of intent by the Steelmen amidst competition from numerous Premiership clubs for his signature once it was clear he would be released by the Scarlets at the end of the season. Having suffered a knee injury and somewhat suprisingly not getting opportunities at Regional level he will be returning to semi pro rugby at the club where, he openly says, he has most enjoyed playing.

Josh will add his undoubted talents and a professional edge to the back line should he overcome what is always strong competition for the shirt!

Here is the latest news on our signings for season 2016-17.

Our aim is to keep supporters up-to-date with all the news that’s fit to print during the close season., starting with all the signings as they’re made available to the website. We’ll post something new every couple of days, at 6 pm, so make sure you keep checking in!

The Franchi twins, products of RTB Ebbw Vale, Dom and Joe, will once again share the team’s colours this coming season. Dom made a huge impression with his powerful tackling and hard carrying approach prior to a season ending knee injury in the away game at Pontypridd at the end of October. His recovery is progressing well and he is on target to return to action in early October.

Joe really pushed hard for the hooker position during the last season, his powerful carrying and ability to jackal was a potent weapon off the bench or as a starter. He has also played a major role in the dominance of our set piece, with strong scrummaging and accurate throwing into the line to launch the formidable driving line out.

More to come on Friday evening at 6pm.

The answer? The number of years five front 5 forwards will have amassed in the Steelmen colours, by the end of next season. Ross Jones, Robert Sevenoaks, the 2015-16 Premiership Player of the Season Damien Hudd, and Ashley Sweet all enter their 7th consecutive season with the club, whilst supporters’ favourite, hooker Mathew “Chunky“ Williams, enters his 14th season at Eugene Cross Park as he closes in on 300 appearances.

All of the above have been key elements of our success on the field and in setting the right environment off the field, and we are delighted that they have signed up for 2016-17.

(Without being too pedantic, mathematically, both Damien and Ross had previous spells with the Steelmen!)

Wales have been forced to make a late change to their squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship which kicks off in Manchester next Tuesday with an eagerly awaited clash against Ireland.

A hamstring injury sustained in training by winger George Gasson has ruled him out of the tournament. He is replaced by Ebbw Vale teenager Jared Rosser.

The talented Rosser made his debut for the Steelmen as a then 17-year-old this season. He scored the decisive try in their Principality Premiership Play-off semi-final victory against Llandovery and also went on to be a member of the victorious Ebbw Vale side which swept aside Pontypridd in the Premiership final at Sardis Road.

Wales U20 team manager Mark Taylor, said: “It’s obviously disappointing to lose a player of George’s ability so close to the tournament but Jared is now given an opportunity and his selection is reward after a fine season with Ebbw Vale.”

Wales take on Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand in Pool A of the global tournament, with Six Nations opponents Ireland first up at the Manchester City Academy Stadium (5.30).

An Ebbw Vale spokesman added: “All at the club are delighted for Jared, it is a major achievement to make the U20’s World Cup for someone who has only recently turned 18.

“It is reward for the hard work he has put in and the coaches at Ebbw Vale have been delighted with his progress on the field and his attitude and behaviour off it. This is a credit to himself, his family and the Dragons Academy.”

Ebbw Vale RFC are delighted to see that the excellent work of the Steelmen’s forwards coach has been recognised with his appointment as forwards coach at the Dragons

Chairman Jonathan Jones was keen to praise the work of Ceri during his 18 months at Eugene Cross Park, culminating in recently winning the Principality Premiership, stating, “The professionalism and expertise brought with him has been a key part of our continued development over the recent seasons making our forwards the most feared in the semi professional game in Wales. As befits his farming background Ceri’s appetite for hard work at the club has been immense as he combined his role with a demanding Acadeny position at Worcester warriors RFC. Ceri’s appointment has been made in full consultation with Ebbw Vale and we are sure that he, a man steeped in Gwent rugby through his own playing career and his father’s who starred for both Ebbw Vale and Newport will go on to be a success in his new role adding ‘steel’ to the region’s forward platform. We thank him for his contribution to our success and look forward to working with him in his new role in the coming seasons.”

Jones also noted that following the signing of Carl Meyer last season from the Steelmen, the movement of a coach to the regions shows that the pathway exists both on and off the field, this fitting perfectly with the strategic intent of the Principality Premiership

Ebbw Vale RFC have in the last few years seen coaches gain positions in Regions and in the Welsh Age Grade coaching structure and will look to appoint a replacement in the coming weeks. Jones said, “Having seen Jason Strange, Geraint Lewis and Duane Goodfield move up the coaching ladder, it would be fair to say that the club has become the pre-eminent coach academy in Wales. The search for replacement coaches is one that we are well versed in, and Nigel Davies and I will look to ensure that we once again bring in the correct person to continue the development of the club.”