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.

Due to the match against Aberavon now being played on April 26th, the EGM will now be held in the clubhouse on Thursday 3rd May at 7pm.

This will explain the changes being made by the WRU to the structure of the Premiership, the implications for Ebbw Vale Rugby Club and the approach we will be taking for the remainder of this season and the seasons to come.

This is an important meeting so please attend if you can.

Please read the following message from Josh James, our young tighthead prop, who has taken the decision to retire from the game:

“After several concussions and speaking to the experts and my family I have decided to retire with my good health at the ripe old age of 22.
I would like to thank Ebbw Vale RFC for giving me the opportunity to play Premiership rugby. It has been my absolute pleasure to have played with this fantastic group of players, I am gutted I will not play my part along side them on the playing field.
My family and I would like thank Rhys and Saran for the professional way they have carried out their duties. In my short time at the club I have made lots of friends, players, coaches and Ebbw supporters who are the best in the league,
I would just like to wish Jon Jones, Greg Woods, Martyn Cooke and the rest of coaching staff and everyone associated with this great club all the very best for the future!”

Naturally, everyone at the club wishes Josh every success, and good health, in the future and we hope to see him at ECP where he will always be very welcome.

Saturday’s match at Bargoed was called off at half time following the sudden illness of a spectator. We have received words of thanks to EVRFC medical staff from Bargoed RFC this morning (Sunday) who will also update on the condition of the individual concerned when they are able.
All praise must go the medical staff of both clubs, for their excellent and immediate care, and to the paramedics who attended very quickly.
The clubs will discuss options regarding the fixture with the WRU on Monday.

As Ebbw Vale will now be playing Aberavon on April 26th, kicking off at 7:30pm, the EGM has been postponed and a new date will be advised as soon as possible.

There will be an EGM in the clubhouse on Thursday 26th April at 7pm.

This will explain the changes being made by the WRU to the structure of the Premiership, the implications for Ebbw Vale Rugby Club and the approach we will be taking for the remainder of this season and the seasons to come.

This is an important meeting so please attend if you can.

For supporters of Ebbw Vale and Merthyr rugby clubs, all roads lead to Pandy Park Crosskeys this Saturday afternoon for the semi final of the National Cup (5:15 pm kick off).

The Steelmen will line up as follows:

Dan Haymond, Toby Fricker, James Lewis, Dom Franchi, Steff Thomas; Dai Langdon, Dai Jones; Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks; Kristian Parker, Lance Randall; Cameron Reagan, Ronny Kynes (capt), Lewis Young.
Bench: Mathew Williams, Joel Harries, Curtis Hicks, Jon Davies, Joe Franci, Sam Ireland, Srdan Makjic, Lewis Dennett

Come and support the mighty Steelmen in the semi final of the National Cup at Pandy Park, Cross Keys, and why not grab yourselves a bargain at the same time with replica shirts now at reduced prices?

The club shop will be open for sales of the reduced price merchandise on Wednesday 4th April from 6pm until 9pm. Come along and get a bargain priced shirt to wear to the semi final on Saturday. P.S Cash sales only.

The shop will not be open on Thursday 5th as previously stated

The draw has been made for the semi finals of the National Cup.

After Wednesday’s convincing win over Bargoed, Ebbw now face Merthyr in the tie to be played on April 7th at Cross Keys RFC. The game will luck off at 5:15pm and be shown live on S4C. The league match with Cross Keys, originally set for that date, will be rearranged.

In the other match, Newport will take on Llandovery.

The National Cup match between Ebbw Vale RFC and Bargoed RFC on Wednesday 21st March will see both teams wearing mis-matched socks to support World Down Syndrome Day.

March 21st has been chosen to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, to recognise that a person with Down Syndrome has three copies of the 21st chromosome instead of two.

To help raise awareness, people are encouraged to wear mismatched socks, brightly coloured socks, long socks, just one sock or be really creative and wear three socks.

A spokesperson for Ebbw Vale RFC said, “ EVRFC are proud to support World Down Syndrome Day on Wednesday 21st March. With support from the WRU we’ll be wearing mis-matched socks for the important cup game away at Bargoed.”

Bargoed RFC are also delighted to be involved with a such a worthwhile cause. As well as joining Ebbw Vale RFC in wearing mis-matched socks they have offered a charity bucket collection at the match.

All supporters are encouraged to wear mis-matched socks to the game to support WDSD18 and help raise funds for the worthwhile cause. Both clubs would like to thank the WRU for supporting this event.

You can buy #LotsOfSocks to wear on #WDSD18 directly from the Down Syndrome Association or just donate by texting WDSD18 £3 to70070. You can post your selfie pictures to social media #SockSelfie #LotsOfSocks #WDSD18.