Back Row Stability
There are not too many changes in the Steelmen back row roster but one new arrival that is making the journey along the A465 is Merthyr and Coleg y Cymoedd product Owen Jones. A fast raiding, ball handling open side Owen will fit into the 15 man game approach and at 6ft 1” and 90kg will not lack physical presence and will challenge hard for the 7 shirt. Owen has been capped for Wales at 7’s and impressed in the Blues Region BIC team and is joining Ebbw Vale to take an opportunity to play on a more regular basis in the Premiership.
Owen with complete with fans’ favourite Ronny Kynes as he enters his 7th season with the Steelmen. Ronny reached 150 games during the 2016-17 campaign and his character on and off the field have played a major part in the Steelmen success story.
Ronny will be joined by his close friend and work colleague Cameron Regan who will look to put an injury ravaged season behind him and once again add his high octane and skillful performances to the Steelmen’s forwards. The team have missed his skill and character in all aspects of the club and all will be delighted to welcome him back.
Another back row stalwart to remain loyal to the Steelmen cause is Rhys Clarke who completed 100 games in his fifth season with the Steelmen. Despite being hampered by a shoulder injury Rhys has delivered strong and committed performances in the second row, 6 and 8 shirts. The Penallta product is looking for an injury free season and continuing to enjoy his rugby at Eugene Cross Park
Two players who joined in January are committed to the Steelmen, Jonathan Davies and Mike Preece. Jon made a big impact with his pace, strong carrying and aggression in the Fosters Cup and in subsequent Premiership games. He produced excellent performances in the 4, 6 and 8 shirt that also clearly showed his try-scoring prowess picking up 4 tries in a handful of games. With a full pre season behind him, all at the club expect him to be a major influence in the new season.
Mike has made a few appearance in the Fosters Cup and from the bench in league games after joining from Risca. He has displayed a real aptitude for the physical work of the back row and is a young player that will develop throughout the coming season
Rory Pitman, having departed the club at the end of January through injury and mutual agreement, is likely to ply his trade in Jersey and we wish him well for the future
Jack Goodey will also be leaving the club after joining in late November and we wish him success with his rugby career
In what was a first opportunity for many of our new signings to show their form in an Ebbw kit, the Steelmen’s 7-a-side squad came away from Parc-y-Scarlets as winnerss of the Heineken National 7s Plate. Ebbw lost their first match to eventual runners up Aberavon, but showed signs of what was to come in turning around a 21-0 half time deficit and scoring 19 points after the break, finally losing 29-19. Ebbw won a tight contest against Bargoed, 19-15, then showed some magic touches in another close win, 26-20 over Bedwas. The young Steelmen saved the best for last, though, scorching past Llanelli 34-7 with tries by Toby Fricker, Andy Evans, Jon Davies and Carl Lewis.
The squad was:
Andy Evans, Lewis Dennett, Calum Hall, Toby Fricker, Stefan Thomas, Srdan Majkic, Jonathan Davies, Garyn Payne, Tom Hopppe, Luke Prankerd, Kristian Palmer, Carl Lewis.
Many thanks to Beddau RFC, Rogerstone RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons for their support and cooperation.
After 7 trophy laden seasons as Captain, 36 year-old Damien Hudd has made the very tough decision to step down as Captain, and from Premiership rugby, to return to the Brynmawr club from which he joined the Steelmen. He will take up the role of player coach as he begins the next chapter of what has been a great rugby career.
An avid rugby watcher and keen student of the game, Damien has already gained his Level 2 coaching qualifications, impressing WRU Coach Development staff with his delivery and knowledge. He will now look to gain coaching experience and take his Level 3 qualification in the near future and we fully expect to see him return to Eugene Cross Park in a coaching capacity at some point in the future.
Damien was a junior professional for the club in the professional era where he was seen as a future Steelmen star with older supporters remembering him playing a superb game in Edinburgh that saw him up against former All Black and current Bath coach Todd Blackadder. The first signs of his ability as a captain were recognized at this time as he led Wales U19’s on several occasions.
For various reasons it was several years later that Damien returned to the Steelmen colours, having spent a short period at Cross Keys but mainly plying his trade at his hometown club of Brynmawr. During this time he also played a lot of rugby league and was capped by Wales at both Amateur and Professional level, a major achievement for an amateur player in a rugby union heartland. It was during the relegation season that Damien played 2 games for us in March and April after being persuaded to help his old club out. It was clear from these performances that he was still more than capable of playing high-level rugby and had the ability to drive performances of those around him. Damien left the field with a fractured cheek-bone, but incoming Chairman Jon Jones ensured that he was looked after by the club, realising that this was a player that the club would need going forward.
That summer, Damien returned to the club and, in what was one of many great decisions the coaching duo of Neil Edwards and Jason Strange made, he was appointed Captain. His rugby ability and toughness were needed in equal measures in what, at times, could be a brutal Division 1 East with everyone wanting to prove a point against a club who, 10 years earlier, had been playing European Cup Rugby. Damien led from the front in every match he played and inspired those around him, and the Ebbw Addicts who loved his effort for the badge. The supporters particularly liked the Damien specials where the opposition’s main ball carrier would get tackled with bone shuddering force that lifted the crowd and his team but left opposition teams nervously looking for the big man and hoping to avoid him in open play.
At this point no one expected Damien to break a club record and captain the club for a record 7 consecutive seasons, dominating the lower divisions for 4 seasons as ring fencing prevented the return to the Premiership of the Steelmen. These 7 seasons saw Damien surpass the club legend Gareth Howls’ record as a 4 times captain as well as other great Steelmen captains such as Arthur Lewis, Denzil Williams, Phil Gardener, Neil Robinson and Kingsley Jones. This record is even more remarkable when one understands that Damien has suffered severe knee ligament injuries which would have ended most careers, but through his mental toughness and love of playing, he rarely missed games or left the field early in the last 7 seasons except for the intervention of the odd referee and another knee injury in the second year of Division 1 East.
Watching Damien lifting the Premiership Trophy for the Steelmen last year was a special moment for all, and meant a huge amount to Damien – particularly after the loss the previous season to the same club, Pontypridd, at the self styled ‘House of Pain’ of Sardis Road. The performances in that season saw Damien awarded the Premiership Player of the Year, a richly deserved award that no one could argue with. He had been nominated in the top 3 for that very same award the previous season.
It is worth noting the success he has led and personally had at this point:
Division 1 East Champions 2010/11 and 2011/12
National Championship Champions 2012/13 and 2013/14
National Cup Semi Finalists – drawn game – out on tries scored
Premiership Runners Up 2014/15
Premiership Champions 2015/16
Premiership Tier 17th place 2016/17
From the club he has been given the Man of Steel Award, Player of the Year and Captain’ Award. He has scored 12 tries in 160 games during the period.
It is always a difficult time when a key player moves on, doubly so when it is a captain but I’m sure all connected to Ebbw Vale RFC will thank Damien for his fantastic service and truly memorable moments.
A message from Damien
What can one man say about so many? Well it started nearly 8 years ago when I still felt young enough for a challenge, big enough to think I was hard and hadn’t spent all my money on tattoos.
8 years ago I made the decision to leave my great club Brynmawr and join the club that I’d always thought, what if and but maybe, so I took the jump, a leap of faith in a club that had so much history, passion and desire, desire to get back to where they belonged.
I joined with massive amounts of nerves and not much else. I knew it would be hard even just to make the cut, I never knew that it would lead to something that I will hold so special and close to my heart. Captain, captain Damien Hudd of Ebbw Vale, The Steelmen! What a Ring to it!
There are so many individuals to thank for my time at the club: the backroom staff who without those guys the club wouldn’t run, the amazing coaches I’ve had the pleasure to work with over my time at Ebbw – Lee Davies, Jason Strange, Nelly to name a few – the supporters who I have one word for: MAGIC! You have been our voice. There has to be a special mention to Rhys Shorney and Dr Rhys Thomas, without these guys I would have retired many years ago. I would like to thank the man behind all of this, Jon Jones, for trying and mostly succeeding to keep me a happy old man. His work for this club is tireless and I’m glad we could pay him back by winning the league title last year. Without my team mates, without the boys I call best friends, even family, I would have been just another player. Behind any successful captain there is always the best team, best friends, best family ever. Every teammate that has worn that special red, white and green shirt, sometimes pink, purple, blue, I will hold you close to my heart and close in my memories forever.
I think I’ve had a lucky time. I came to a club that had been struggling so there was only really one way we as a team could have gone: leagues won championships won even premierships won. It was never really my title or my wins, even winning Premiership Player of the Year last year was only done and won because of the incredible team I had around me.
So it’s with a very sad and in other ways happy heart that I leave Ebbw in the hands of the new captain, new coaches and hopefully some new fans too. It’s time to take the step and the new challenges that come with playing and coaching back at my old club Brynmawr. This decision has been the hardest decision made in my rugby life but I think it’s best for me and for the club. I’ve loved every thing that has been involved in being an Ebbw Vale Steelman.
Last and certainly the most important thank you must go to my wonderful, amazing wife who over the last seven years has been married to Ebbw Vale Steelmen, brought up our amazing daughter, put up with so many late nights, all days at rugby. Without her support I’m sure I would have never been able to do any of the above.
So signing off as your captain and player…
Chairman Jon Jones has paid the following tribute…
Having been the person who persuaded Damien to play those 2 games in the relegation season it was obvious to me that this was a player, a man who we could build our team around. I felt like I was stalking him as I continually spoke to him about coming to the club. Damien had the choice of several clubs in the Premiership and Championship but finally signed for Ebbw Vale in the middle of June 2010. From that season he grew into the captaincy of the club, saw it as an honour and wanted to lead us back to the Premiership. Despite a few set backs he never wavered in this objective and was delighted when we finally achieved this. Damien off the field is a quiet and considered person with good personal values and ethics that belied his forcefulness on the field. There are 3 moments for me that have summed up Damien and how he changed his career over the 7 seasons:
- Damien had been sent off in a game in 2010-11 and as I stood in the corridor of the Principality Stadium waiting to be called into the Hospitality suite that was that evening’s venue for the Disciplinary hearings, I casually asked him what his recent record was like and was a little surprised when he said, “Pretty good in the last two or three seasons.”
We got called in and, as we entered, the Chairman of the Panel said, “Hello Damien son, you know the drill, take your usual seat.” I was stunned, but between us we managed to get the sending of rescinded.
Five days later ,Damien was sent off in a league game. He came and saw me after the game and apologised with the words, “Sorry Jon, the boys were getting a kicking and the ref was ignoring it, so I thought I’d better sort it.” I now can’t remember the last time Damian has been sent off or yellow carded
- After we had lost to a very good Pontypridd side in the Premiership, Damien again came over to me and said, “Jon I’m sorry we didn’t win, but I promise you we will be back and win this next year.” A promise he kept in some style! The only downside being a rib crushing sweaty bear hug from him as the pitch celebrations started!!
- With his knee injuries catching up with him and slowing him down on the field. Damian made the decision to change his diet and training and he did this with great commitment. This allowed him to up his game contribution and led to him being crowned Premiership Player of the Year. This is a great tribute to Damian’s mental strength and desire to be the best he could for his club.
There have been some great descriptions of Damian in press reports and opposition match programmes where he was often described as the ‘Talismanic leader of the Steelmen’, but my personal favorite was in a programme: ‘The warrior like and splendidly inked Ebbw Vale Captain’, which paid homage to his great love of tattoos as well as his ability as a rugby player.
He has been the rock on which our success has been built, a steady influence as coaches departed and I am proud to count him as a friend. I thank him for everything he has done for the club; his loyalty, friendship and I look forward to a future discussion on him coaching the Steelmen.
Chelsea football club have just seen their long time captain move on, and I would like to borrow their description of him and apply it to Damien, as I cannot think of anything more fitting. Thank you,
CAPTAIN LEADER LEGEND.
Irrespective of the outcome of the general election there are changes at the important Number 10 position in Ebbw Vale. With the departure of Josh Lewis to Bath the club has signed 2 exciting young talents to compete for the shirt.
Callum Hall is a 20 year old product of Aberdare and the Cardiff Blues Academy who has been capped by Wales at U16, 18 and 7’s levels and will bring his pacy and elusive running to Ebbw Vale to take up an opportunity that he describes as “ a privilege to pull on the shirt of a massive rugby club”. Callum is also a very good goal kicker who is comfortable in the 15 jersey and joins from Pontypridd having also had game time at Cardiff. You can see him in action here.
Callum Hall Lewis Dennett
Callum will be joined by Lewis Dennett an accomplished goal-kicker and distributor of the ball. He has spent the last few years at Hartbury College playing in the BUCS teams and also turning out for Welsh Academicals where he came to the attention of the Steelmen. With family from the Cardiff and Pontypridd area he is Welsh qualified and will be living locally. Lewis is another who can play in a few positions, 15 and 9, and he is really looking forward to testing himself with the Steelmen. You can watch Lewis here.
One of the major platforms of the Ebbw success has been the disruptive scrummaging power of the Steelmen pack. Rob Sevenoaks and Ross Jones will continue their partnership for an eight season, and fellow prop Ian George has also committed for a further season. 21year old Josh James, who impressed in the Fosters cup particularly at Pontypridd, where a first choice pack was marched backwards by a very young Ebbw 8, will join them. Josh, a Tight Head who is happy to play on the opposite head, is looking forward to more appearances after his season was disrupted by a nasty training injury.
With Gethin Robinson retiring the front row union will be completed by Dean Brooker a Bristol based front row forward who spent last season playing for Gala. Dean spent time in the Wasps Academy and has played in New Zealand and for Cornish Pirates. Standing at 6ft 2’ and 19st 10” Dean will concentrate in the tight head role but has the ability to play across the front row and will bring his scrummaging power and carrying to the team.
Joe Franchi will start favourite for the hooking role after a number of standout performances for the Steelmen. He will be joined by the evergreen Mathew “Chunky” Williams who will make a comeback from the injuries sustained last season for his 15th season as a Steelman. The second familiar face returning is that of Tredegar based Rhys Francis after completing his studies and rehabilitation from a serious knee injury. Rhys made a big impression in our debut season in the Premiership with his very strong all round game.
Leaving the club will be Jonny Bowen who came in and provided strong and committed back up after the October injury to Mathew Williams. Jonny was always a real clubman and we wish well back at the Brecon club who are expected to challenge strongly in Division 1 in the new season.
The departure and arrival lounges at Ebbw Vale RFC have been as busy as Cardiff Airport on a Dublin Wales game. A huge amount of effort has been put in by the coaching and support teams to ensure we are in a position to better this season’s 7th position.
Over the next couple of weeks we will bring you up to speed, starting today…
Winging in and Out
The club is delighted that January signings Steffan Thomas and Will Holley will be continuing with the Steelmen in the coming season. Both had the opportunity, through brief cameo roles during the season and impressive performances in the Fosters Cup, and are expected to play a much bigger role in the coming season
Steffan has enjoyed a great season with Ynysddu and, with his pace and ability to beat a man, the 22 year old will fit into the plans of an expansive game plan that the Steelmen will look to execute in 2017-18.
Will is capable of playing wing and full back and will bring pace, strength and a big kicking game to the Steelmen. He has been the top points scorer at Mountain Ash and is capable of kicking long distances out of hand and for the posts. At 19 years old he has a long career ahead of him at Eugene Cross Park.
Joining these relative newcomers are Elis-Wyn Benham, Andy Evans and Toby Fricker.
Will Holley Andy Evans Elis-Wyn Benham Steffan Thomas
21-year-old Elis-Wyn has been capped for Wales at U16, 18 and 20’s levels and makes the journey along the Heads of the Valleys from Merthyr RFC. He is a product of the Blues Academy and has also played for Cardiff Blues and the premiership team. He brings with him pace, power and the ability to beat an opponent with little space and is sure to become a favourite of the Ebbw Addicts. Elis-Wyn is looking forward to the start of what he feels will be an exciting time for him and the club. You can watch him in action here.
Andy Evans joins from Gwent Premiership rivals Bedwas and has always impressed when playing against the Steelmen. Andy has played for Newbridge, Wales Students and Wales 7’s and is a clever and powerful runner who can also play in the 13 channel. Andy is looking forward to playing in front of the large support that follows the Steelmen.
21-year-old Toby Fricker has been recommended to the club following his exploits for Welsh Academicals where he has played at wing, full back and 13. He is Welsh qualified through his father who is from Builth Wells. A native of London, Toby went through the London Scottish Academy prior to moving to Southampton University and he will be moving to Wales to complete a Masters degree. At over 6ft tall and weighing 15st 7lb he will bring a powerful and fast carrying game to the Steelmen and is very excited at the prospect of running out at Eugene Cross Park.
Last season’s Premiership Try of the Season winner, Brynmawr’s Ryan Gardner, suffered an injury ravaged season, but will train with Steelmen this summer before deciding whether to drop down a level in search of regular rugby to aid his return to playing at the top level. We all hope to see him in the club colours in the future as his superb work rate, support running and finishing prowess have earned him many admirers aamong the Ebbw faithful.
Sadly the exit lounge includes Chris Levesley who is looking to concentrate on 7’s once he has recovered from the facial injury sustained in the second away fixture at RGC. The diminutive but lion hearted winger will be missed by all at the club, his exciting running the perfect foil to his laid back demeanor off the field, he has been a pleasure to have at the club and hopefully we will see him once again in Ebbw colours in the future.
Local lad Craig Duncan will be another missing from the red, green and white in the coming season. The RTB product has embarked on a career with the Royal Marines and goes with our very best wishes. He will always be remembered for his first league game for the club at Cross Keys, surely one of the finest Ebbw debuts ever! We look forward to welcoming Craig to ECP in the future.
There’ll be more to come on Monday…
Following the decision of Head Coach Nigel Davies to relinquish his role at Ebbw Vale RFC, the club has appointed this season’s Forwards’ Coach Lee Davies as Head Coach, and following a robust interview process, have selected Ben Daniels to lead our Attack and Backs coaching.
Club Chairman Jon Jones commented that the appointments represent a return to the policy of appointing young ambitious coaches that has driven our success in the last 7 seasons; Jason Strange, Duane Goodfield and Ceri Jones being great examples of how both the club and individuals benefit from the opportunity.
“Lee has impressed with his technical knowledge and passion for the club and I am certain that he is the right man to take the club forward in partnership with Ben who he has worked with previously,” Jonathan said. “Ben is an impressive young coach who is full of ideas and passion and, unknown to him, part one of his interview was at the Beddau game! Having noted how Beddau went about managing the game I listened to the messages he was sending on to the field and was impressed with the content and passion in those messages. I would like to thank Beddau for their co-operation in allowing Ben to come to Ebbw Vale and he is now the third coach to make that transition.”
They will be supported by Strength and Conditioning coach Lewis Roberts, who has worked tirelessly in this role over the last 4 seasons; Team Manager, Martyn Cooke; Analyst and Player Recruitment Darren Venn; and Physio Rhys Shorney, who enters his 8th season with the club.
“I’m sure that Lee, Ben and the rest of the team will be able to count on the continued support and passion from the Ebbw Addicts in the coming seasons,” said Jonathan.
Here are the thoughts of Head Coach – Lee Davies
“I am extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to become Head Coach of such a prestigious club, a club that has provided me with some of my most memorable moments as a player. Hopefully this can now transition into my time as a coach.
Unfortunately this season has been a little disappointing for a number of reasons. However I am now looking forward to getting down to some hard work. The boys will have a good off-season allowing them to come back in pre-season rested and recovered from the endeavours of the previous campaigns. Of late we, as a coaching and playing group, have spent time reviewing and analysing the season, identifying key elements that need changing, improving and tightening up.
I aim to get back to basics with the group. On the face of it I ultimately want us to be as professional as possible, which will mean effective provision of Strength and Conditioning programmes, analysis and on field performance. However underpinning this will be traditional old school rugby club values: togetherness, trust and respect which will be fostered by a senior leadership group, giving players a greater ownership of their environment.
On field, I would like us to develop our playing style, to become more expansive and have the ability to play the picture we see. Again this will be underpinned by foundations in place from this year, with a big, strong set piece and a solid defensive platform. With recruitment going well and the majority of the current squad re-signed I am more than confident we have the ability and personnel to adapt and play a wider brand of rugby.
Finally, a big target for me is to re-engage with our supporters. Without the support and backing of our loyal fans we would definitely be a weaker outfit. Our aim is to give back a little, holding supporter and family fun days so that the club engages with the whole community. Together we will succeed!
Ben Daniels – Attack / Backs Coach
29 and a native of Porth in the Rhondda Valleys, Ben started his coaching career at the age of 18 as a Cardiff Blues Community Coach. He was fortunate enough to gain strong mentorship from Chris Jones, Clive Jones and Neil Boobyer at the early stages of his career with the Rhondda Schools Rugby. He completed his UKCC Level 1 & 2 coaching awards and was then fast tracked to complete the UKCC Level 3 coaching award at the age of 19, becoming at 19 the youngest person to achieve Level 3 status. Ben worked as Rugby Development Officer for 10 years with both the Cardiff Blues and WRU before taking up the position as Head of Rugby at the University of South Wales in September 2016. The role is to oversee and manage the rugby provision within the biggest university in Wales. Part of that role is heading up the USW first team within the BUCS Premiership.
Ben has been involved in many successful teams throughout his career. Some of the highlights include 6 Dewar Shield (School boy) Championships, British School Championship with Coleg Cymoedd under 18s, undefeated season with record breaking score line and maximum bonus points in a senior league with Cambrian RFC, Blues RAG under 18’s development coach. More recently, he has been attack/ backs coach at Beddau RFC for the last three seasons. Within that time Beddau gained promotion back to the championship winning South East Central Division 1. Ben then become the Head Coach with Beddau in the 2016-2017 season in the WRU Championship, where they finished 4th. Here are Ben’s thoughts on joining the Steelmen.
“Being asked to coach such a massive club as Ebbw Vale is a huge honour for me as young, ambitious coach. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse with Ebbw Vale’s traditional rugby history and values really attracting me to the role. Also knowing that with the role comes a big responsibility but also excitement as well.To be appointed as the Attack/Backs coach at Ebbw Vale RFC is something I personally have been waiting for over a long period. I feel this is the next big step for me personally in climbing the ladder to coaching rugby at a professional level. I hope to give the club and dedicated fans continued on-field rugby success for the season approaching. To coach Ebbw Vale, who are one of the biggest rugby clubs in Wales, in the Welsh Premiership is a real privilege. I am hugely excited to be playing my part in the Steelmen’s coaching staff for the 2017-2018 season, and look forward to the challenge ahead. I wish to thank the club for appointing me and look forward to some big successes along the way.
My rugby philosophy is of an attacking mind set. Part of my role will be to develop all players’ fundamentals, core skills, and decision-making. Seeing players play with a high skill level with tempo will hopefully excite the fans at Ebbw Vale for the season ahead. Instilling players with the confidence to attack and score tries will be intriguing for all in the coming season. The new season approaching will see some new young talented players who have put pen to paper for the season 2017-2018 at Ebbw Vale RFC. Hopefully the fans will be on the edge of their seats to see some new young talent and the new attacking mind set of the Steelmen going forward.”
It is with sadness that the club announces the departure of Head Coach Nigel Davies after 2 years at the helm of the Steelmen. Nigel’s undoubted quality and experience were key factors in the club lifting the Premiership trophy last season, he is guaranteed his place in the club’s history and I would like to place on record my personal, and the club’s, gratitude for this. It has been a pleasure to work with Nigel and we wish him all the best in his future rugby and personal career.
The following is a statement from Nigel:
“I would like to thank the players, committee and supporters at Ebbw Vale Rugby Club for the warm welcome and support over the last two seasons and, in particular, Jonathan Jones for providing me the opportunity and his friendship over this time.
Having been fortunate to experience quite a bit in my rugby career I will always regard being part of this group and lifting the premiership trophy as some of my fondest memories in the game.
Over my time at Ebbw I have learned and taken a lot from the experience and thank the club for that, and there is no doubting how special this club is and how fondly those who have been involved with the club speak about it and regard it, of which I now proudly count myself one!
When I first met Jonathan Jones to discuss the possibility of coming to Ebbw we discussed many things, most of which we have been able to deliver, but one was that I felt it was a 2 year position and, unfortunately, that time has now come.
Ebbw Vale will always hold a special place in my heart and I feel privileged to have played some small part in this great club’s history.”
The funeral of Mark Bull, who died recently, will take place at Llwydcoed Crematorium, Aberdare, on Friday, May 19th, at 3pm.
Mark, 59, was a life long supporter of the club both home and away and extremely knowledgeable about rugby
He taught at old Rassau School for many years and was well known and respected in the town.
Mark stood on the top step of the bank near the half way line on match days and really enjoyed us winning the Premiership last year. His close friend, Keith Follis, said, “He passed away with us still being the reigning champions.”
A gentle, kind and modest man, he will be missed by many people.
As a mark of respect the teams faced the terrace for a minute’s silence before kick off on Saturday, when Ebbw Vale played Merthyr.
For details of opportunities to link commercially with Ebbw Vale RFC for next season, 2017-18, please click here.
We would like to wish Gethin Robinson good luck in the future as he retires from rugby at the end of this season. Gethin has been a real hit with the Ebbw Vale faithful over the last 3 seasons and it will be strange not to see him on the field, and his family supporting him from the sidelines each week.
Gethin was the first player that then then coaching team of Jason Strange and Duane Goodfield signed on the club’s return to the Premiership, and he has played a key role in our success in the last 3 years with his experience and fitness setting a great example to the younger players in the squad. He has been involved in all of the games in the last 2 seasons, a bicep injury in March of his first season preventing an ever present record. On signing, Gethin declared he had come to Ebbw Vale “to win something”, a promise he kept and we thank him for playing a major part in what has been a great time in the history of the Steemen
I know his dad is wondering what he will do with himself on a Saturday afternoon. May I suggest, you still pay a visit to ECP as you will always be part of the Steelmen family.
Another member of the Steelmen family, the Rev Geoff Waggett, is retiring and moving to Bridgend after 17 years in Ebbw Vale.
The Rev has been a big supporter of the Steelmen both on and off the field through the Sports Chaplaincy Programme, providing sponsorship for the team through Churches Together and providing support to players and supporters through his role as Club Chaplain.
He has been a big support behind the scenes and everyone at the club wishes Geoff and his wife Jen the best of luck on their retirement.