Dragons Academy Allocation

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Ebbw Vale RFC is once again delighted to welcome several highly promising players to Eugene Cross Park.

Returning for his third season is Welsh U20’s Grand Slam Winning No8 Harri Keddie. All at the club have enjoyed watching Harri develop over the last 2 seasons and he has contributed strongly to our success in this period. Many expect Harri to challenge strongly for the senior Dragons team in the coming season and Ebbw Vale will look to play its part in ensuring he achieves this goal.

18-year-old Jared Rosser returns for a second season and is another who delighted the Steelmen faithful, with his development bringing several excellent displays in taking us to the Premiership Title, including a match-clinching try in the play off semi final at Llandovery. This form earned him a place in the Wales U20’s World Cup squad where he gained several caps and scored his first try in Welsh colours. This was a huge achievement for such a young player and he will spend August in South Africa with Wales U18’s

A third player returning to the Steelmen will be prop forward Keagan Bale who missed the whole of last season following a knee injury sustained in training. He had previously made a strong impression with an excellent display at Llanelli in April 2015 and will be looking forward to getting back into action

A new face for the Steelmen will be 18-year-old second row Max Williams who comes to the club with a reputation of being an athletic ball carrier that befits a former basketball player. Max will also be touring South Africa will Wales U18’s and will not be seen in Steelmem colours until September

There are two Ebbw Vale based players allocated to the club by the Dragons, both being products of the Jason Strange coached Ebbw Fawr School’s Cup Final team, Joel Harries and Dawid Rubasniak.

Joel, a native of Beaufort, trained with the club last pre season as a 17-year-old and impressed our experienced front row players with his strength and power in the loose head prop position. He will certainly add competition to the more established loose heads at the club.

Dawid was an unused substitute in the Neath away league game and then went on to make his first appearance in Ebbw Vale colours in the Fosters Challenge Cup game against Cross Keys, played on the 4G pitch at the Dragons’ Ystrad Mynach training Centre. He impressed all with a dynamic performance that was capped with a try and he will be looking to pressurise Ronny Kynes for the No7 shirt.

The final player of the Academy allocation, and a new face at Eugene Cross Park, is 18-year-old full back Will Talbot-Davies. Will, a native of Solihull, has come through the Welsh Exiles program and impressed the Steelmen’s Head Coach with his pace and elusive running for the Dragons U18 team. The  coaching staff are looking forward to working with this exciting talent. He will be living with Steelmen favorites, Dorian Jones and Carl Meyer, who will no doubt instill in him their passion for the club!

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Following six highly successful seasons as a star performer in a dominant Ebbw Vale pack, lineout maestro Ashley Sweet will take his undoubted talent into the regional game with the Dragons. All at the cub are delighted for Ashley as he realises his dream of playing professional rugby.

Everyone at Ebbw Vale RFC will wish to acknowledge the huge contribution Ashley has made to the success of the club in the last six seasons. He was one of the first signings made after relegation and has been a key part in creating an outstanding off-the-field culture as well as his more obvious on-the-field contribution.

With the retirement of Andrew Coombes, the Dragons have moved swiftly in bringing Ashley on board where he will be reunited with Ceri Jones. When not required for Dragons duty, Ashley will be available for Ebbw Vale and the club would like to acknowledge the openness, courtesy and professionalism of our old favourite Kingsley Jones in the signing of Ashley.

Well, it’s that time of the year again for Ebbw Vale RFC to spend the day at Ebbw Vale Market. This Friday (29th July) the Addicts will have a stall where you will be able to:

  • Purchase “Champions” merchandise; t-shirts at £22, mugs at £8 and car stickers at £3
  • Buy club merchandise at large discounts; replica shirts at £20, hoodies at £20, rain jackets at £15, polo shirts at £10 and t-shirts at £8
  • Sign up for membership of Ebbw Vale RFC for the 2016/17 season
  • Join the Ebbw Addicts for the 2016/17 season and book seats for games against London Welsh and Llanelli.
  • Find out about Sponsorship opportunities for the 2016/17 season.

So come along and say hello!

Spend more than £10 on club merchandise on market day and you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Singleton Park, Swansea in September.

Centre commits

Jordan Howells has committed to his fourth season as a Steelman and will be looking to challenge the established pairing of Adam Jones and Nathan Preece in the coming season. Jordan although being an excellent attacking centre found himself coming off the bench in many games and he will be looking to recapture the form that saw him named Welsh Premiership Player of the Month in April 2015.

Pitman becomes Steelman

This is not another capture of a Penallta player but the signing of Scarlets’ No8 Rory Pitman. Weighing in at 118kg, Rory brings with him a fearsome ball carrying ability that was first noted as he came through the Ospreys development set up and has been displayed at clubs such as London Welsh, Rotherham and Wasps.
The 26 year old is looking forward to linking up again with friend and former team mate Josh Lewis and coming under the direction of forwards coach Lee Davies who helped guide him through his early days of senior rugby at Bridgend.

Ebbw Vale RFC have linked up with Ignition to offer the chance to win tickets to see Noel Gallagher on September 2nd, when his band, High Flying Birds, will be a headlining a show at Singleton Park in Swansea. We’ve been given two pairs of tickets to the above event and will be passing them on to two lucky people!

To have the chance to win the tickets is quite simple.The Addicts will be opening the club shop on Monday 24th July (6.00pm to 8.00pm) and will also have a stall at the Ebbw Vale market on Friday 29th July. Come along on either day and purchase some Ebbw Vale RFC merchandise to the minimum value of £10 and you will automatically be entered into the draw to win the first pair of tickets.

We have received the Champions t-shirts and car stickers and these will be available to buy on both the above dates. Champions mugs will also be on sale. There will also be a sale of last season’s leisure wear and replica jerseys.

Then watch out for a further competition in August, where purchasing your EVRFC season ticket could also win you a pair of tickets to see Noel Gallagher in Swansea.

Thanks to Marcus at Ignition for providing the tickets.

Ebbw Vale RFC are delighted that Nick Wakley has once again been named head coach of the Dragons 7s squad as they defend the Singha Premiership 7s title, won with a last gasp try by Ebbw Vale’s Harrison Keddie in the final last season against Wasps.

Joining Harrison in the squad this season will be another Ebbw Vale favourite, Chris Levesley, who recently impressed for GB students at the World Student Games. GB students lost to Australia in the final but Chris’s impressive displays have earned him a place in the Dragons 7s squad.

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Ebbw Vale RFC has followed this year’s championship winning campaign in the Principality Premiership by announcing that TVR, the iconic British sports car manufacturer, is to be its main sponsor in the 2016 /17 season, carrying the company’s famous logo on the front of both shirt and shorts.

The news reinforces TVR’s commitment to the local community following its announcement earlier this year that it is to manufacture its new vehicle, engineered by Gordon Murray Design and powered by Cosworth, in Ebbw Vale, and which will have its public launch in 2017.

Commenting on the news, Ebbw Vale RFC Director and Chairman Jonathan Jones said: “As a club we are delighted that TVR has become a partner and feel it is fitting tha16-17 home kit with logot a club that derives its nickname from the steel industry, which was once the main economic driver of the area, will have strong links with the iconic TVR marque.

TVR’s facility will help to re-energise the area economically in the coming years and we look forward to working closely with the company, helping them develop an enjoyable and prosperous future with the club, its fellow sponsors, its supporters, and with the area as a whole. This must surely be the most prestigious sponsorship deal in the history of the Premiership and is an excellent boost for Ebbw Vale RFC and the League as a whole.”

Operations Director for TVR John Chasey commented, “TVR are looking forward to establishing our factory in Ebbw Vale and becoming an integral part of both the local economy and community. While TVR cars have traditionally sported composite bodies, they have always been built upon a steel chassis, and the new car will continue to use a steel frame bonded with carbon fibre as part of the iStream process, so the sponsorship of the Steelmen is an appropriate connection we look forward to developing.”

Ebbw Vale RFC are pleased to announce their coaching structure for the coming season.

Nigel Davies remains to lead the club’s defence of their Premiership title, secured with a superb performance at Sardis Road in May.

With Ceri Jones having moved on to coach the Dragons, the club are delighted to welcome back former Steelmen prop forward Lee Davies as Forwards Coach. Lee enjoyed a 9-year Premiership playing career that included a 3-year spell at Ebbw Vale from 2003 to 2006 after coming through the Pontypridd U21 set up. Lee played at Bridgend and Pontypridd before retiring with a back injury in 2012. As a qualified secondary school teacher he switched to Coleg Y Cwmoedd 4 years ago to join the rugby academy and he has played a strong role in making the college one of the stand-out performers in the college league. Alongside this, Lee has also coached Cardiff Blues age grade rugby at U16/18 level. Last season he coached Beddau to a sixth placed finish in the Championship. Lee is qualified to WRU Level 3 and is about to embark on his Level 4 qualification.

The club is delighted to welcome Lee back and he clearly fits with the ethos of appointing young ambitious coaches who have an affiliation to the club and an understanding of its culture.

Damien Hudd will assist Lee, and will combine this new role with his continuing playing career. The club will support Damien as he embarks on gaining his Level 1 and 2 WRU coaching qualifications in the coming season. A keen student of the game, Damien is looking forward to his new role and the club is delighted that this is the opening chapter in retaining his obvious leadership qualities for the long-term.

Mike Powell, who performed the Assistant Coach role last season despite the severe leg injury he sustained in October, has moved on to pastures new. We thank Mike for his efforts and the part he played in our title-winning season.

Nick Wakley will once again coach the backs. After joining at Christmas 2014, Nick has developed strongly as a coach and is looking forward to working with a talented back line that seldom receives the credit it deserves. Once again Nick’s expertise has been in demand on the summer 7’s circuit, which is a clear indication of his attack coach ability.

The strength and conditioning role will once again be fulfilled for the 4th season by former Steelmen scrum half Lewis Roberts. An intern from the University of South Wales, Harry Ashby, will assist Lewis. The club would like to take the opportunity to thank former Steelmen pace ace Ian Jeffries, who heads up this key area of Educational Sport for the University.

Principality Premiership champions Ebbw Vale will begin the defence of their title away to Llanelli on September 3. The Steelmen, who beat Pontypridd 38-12 in the grand final to lift the Premiership trophy for the first time in their history, then travel to Sardis Road for the first league match on Pontypridd’s new 3G pitch on September 10, before welcoming Newport to Eugene Cross Park on September 17 followed by Bridgend on September 24.

The Principality Premiership has been revamped in time for this season with 16 teams playing each other in the first half of the season. In the New Year, the league will be split into two divisions of eight for the remainder of the season, the top teams playing it out for the title.

All the clubs in the expanded division will receive the same on and off-field support from the Welsh Rugby Union. As previously agreed and announced, the Premiership will be ring-fenced until the end of season 2018/19.

Ebbw Vale head coach Nigel Davies said, “It’s going to be a tough start, Parc y Scarlets and Sardis Road are always difficult places to go but we expect everyone to raise their game against us as champions this season anyway. We did well away from home last season, and we will just have to prepare well in pre-season and back ourselves to get off to a good start. After all, the first 15 rounds of the season is like a mini-season in itself and if you don’t get momentum early on, you’ll be on the back foot and find it difficult to stay in the top eight when the league splits.

“It’s always nice to go back to Llanelli, I have lots of friends there and I have huge regard for their development work. Like Ebbw Vale, they develop players and coaches for the professional game. As for Pontypridd, we beat them three times last season, and returning to the venue of the final will certainly be a big occasion, but we have to play these teams at some point so we just have to be ready. We will look forward to our first home matches against local rivals Newport and Bridgend.”

Davies is confident he has the right balance in his squad to launch a staunch defence of the title, with Damien Hudd still at the helm.

“The big strength of the team is its togetherness and we’re really pleased that the majority of the squad has stayed together. We’ve added some strength and are on the look-out for one or two more players but we’re happy with the balance of the side. Damien had such a great end to the season and winning Player of the Season, he’s been like a 19 year old around pre-season training. You need leaders at every level of the game and Damien has such fantastic leadership qualities.”

The fixtures are all here.

As July takes over from June, and the nights begin to lengthen, Ebbw’s players are back in training and thoughts switch to the season ahead. The first dates of note, for the eagerly anticipated pre-season friendlies, have been announced.

On Friday 12th of August, the Steelmen make the short trip to Bedlinog, returning to the ground where they clinched the Division One East crown on a blazing hot day in May, 2011. The ‘Foxes’ won promotion to the Championship last season and will prove stiff opposition for Ebbw – especially with a certain Iain Smerdon pulling the strings.

On Saturday, August 27th, Ebbw will play British and Irish Cup holders, London Welsh. The game, at Imber Court (KT8 0BT) will kick off at 2:30. The sides met at Eugene Cross Park last summer, and the Addicts will be looking forward to a day out in Surrey… which is why they’re running transport there!

The cost will be £20 per person including a full English (surely that should be ‘Welsh’) breakfast at the rugby club before departure to London.

To book seats on the bus, contact Ebbw Addicts:
Phone: 07766490358
Email: ebbwaddicts@gmail.com

Details of timings will be released followed.

Training is due to commence this evening (Tuesday) on French’s field starting at 6.30pm.
Training will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30pm.