The 2013/14 season was our last in the Championship and began with an away game with a difference, it was in North Wales where the WRU had created a new club, RGC, that had the good fortune to have Rupert Moon at the helm. In their programme he wrote “I have to pinch myself at the thought of welcoming the players and committee of such an illustrious club stepped in history as Ebbw Vale.” We responded with a 31-16 win with tries from Ronnie Kynes, Spencer Gibson and a penalty try boosted by Dan Haymond landing four penalty goals and two conversions.
Led by the irrepressible Damien Hudd the Steelmen were in confident mood for the first home game of the season against Bargoed which we won 33-18 after being 13-8 down at half-time. Tries came from Jack Flower, Wes Cunliffe, Sion Jones and Joe Franchi, Ian Smerdon converting two, dropping a goal and kicking a penalty. Josh Prosser also landed a penalty and the scene was set for a season that would end with promotion. Man of the Match was Cameron Regan.
Jason Strange was our head coach in 2013/14 as he is today and comments in the match programme for the Bargoed game still apply – “Success in rugby does not come without commitment on and off the field. Whether taking part in vigorous pre-season training improving fitness and skills, focusing on the development of the match day game plan or an in-depth analysis of performance, all can provide that edge that keeps you ahead of the opposition. Even the smallest attention to detail can provide that one opportunity that will achieve victory.”
Our return to the Premiership began in September 2014 at home against Llandovery that was a thriller we won 30-29 one of many close finishes with the Drovers and more entertaining than our first game with them in 1982. We were in the 2nd Division and travelled west to endure a game later described as being as tight as a club treasurer’s wallet. It was try-less and a 3-3 draw looked likely until our young outside-half, Jason Strange, dropped a cheeky goal and we won 6-3. After sampling the local brew we travelled east feeling satisfied and confident we had found a lad of considerable promise.
Awaiting update – Season tickets announcement soon.
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.”