Ebbw play their first match in almost 18 months when they visit Brecon RFC on Saturday, July 31st.
The game, Ebbw’s first in a series of pre-season friendlies, will kick off at 1:30pm at Parc de Pugh.
Ebbw Vale have a number of tickets available for this year’s Autumn Series.
The WRU have announced tests against four of the best sides the Southern Hemisphere have to offer at the Principality Stadium.
Wayne Pivac’s men will host New Zealand on Saturday 30th October, World Champions South Africa on Saturday 6thNovember, Fiji on Sunday 14th November and Australia on Saturday 20th November.
The Autumn tests will provide fans the opportunity to cheer on their team for the first time since the 2020 Six Nations and the WRU are confident the Stadium will be at 100% capacity. Of course circumstances around COVID 19 could change, so provisions are in place so that supporters can purchase now with confidence, knowing that a full refund of the face value amount will be issued if plans change.
Under 17s tickets, previously restricted to category B & C areas will now be available across the ground, including the alcohol-free zone which will still be in operation.
For more information on how to purchase tickets for Wales’ hugely anticipated Autumn Nations Series please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by August 28th 2021.
Ebbw Vale RFC are delighted to announce the signing of Dafydd Howells. The 6ft, 15st wing joins after being released by the Dragons having made 17 appearances and scoring 5 tries over the last 2 seasons.
Dafydd came to prominence at the Ospreys and won 2 Welsh caps, making his debut on the tour of Japan in 2013 . He has also been capped at U20s and for Wales 7s.
He has previously played in the Welsh Premiership primarily for Neath but has also represented Aberavon and Ebbw Vale.
His previous spell at the Steelmen saw him become a fans’ favourite as he raced over for 9 tries in 11 appearances and he will add pace, guile and experience to the back division.
Dafydd commented, “Having recently taken the decision to step back from professional rugby, I’m excited to get the opportunity to represent the Steelmen again. It was an easy decision to make having played for the club before, knowing there’s a great bunch of boys there along with quality coaches”.
Head Coach Greg Woods had the following to say on the capture of Dafydd. “We are really excited to bring someone of Dafydd’s calibre to the club for the forthcoming season. He had a huge impact in the games that he played for the club a few years back and I look forward to working with him to bring that level of play week in week out over the coming season.
He wants to enjoy his rugby and play week in week out and I have no doubt he will be a real force and will make his presence felt in the Welsh Premiership.
He also brings his international and regional experiences to a new group of players and that will only enhance the development of this new squad on training nights and match days.”
This is an exciting signing for the club and we can’t wait to see him in action.”
Daffyd’s Vide Highlights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Q48L7EjAw&feature=youtu.be
Wing/Fullback Alun Harries was another Ebbw fan favourite from the 90s side, playing outside halfbacks Dai Llewellyn (who joined us for the first ‘my favourite Ebbw games’ piece) and Byron Hayward.
Alun spoke to us this week about his favourite games in the famous red, green and white.
Neath v Ebbw Vale, 1996/97
In Harries’ first season at Eugene Cross Park, he picked up an injury early on, leaving him out of action without a run of games until October.
“The other wings were Ian “Jaffa” Jeffries and Shaun Marshall and they were playing well. I’d always preferred playing full back and said to the coaches that’s where I wanted to play. I was given the opportunity and it was an armchair ride with the then centres Jon Hawker and Mike Boys, who were outstanding in defence and great distributors with ball in hand, and it easy to run lines off them both,” he said.
Ebbw travelled to The Gnoll to face one of Harries’ former clubs, Neath. Driven by the desire to get one over on his old teammates, Harries was involved in everything in attack and although not particularly renowned for his tackling, put a big hit in on Neath wing Chris Higgs.
“Chris was very quick and had a great step of his right foot, but he had a ‘tell’ just before he would do so and the key was to get almost parallel to him and time the hit as he came off his right foot, my timing was spot on and caught him right in the ribs with my shoulder, think its the only time a player took a while to get up after being tackled by me!”
Harries also recalled one phase of play that nearly resulted in a fantastic length of the field try.
“We had a scrum on our own line. Byron Hayward was behind the scrum on the dead ball line ready for the clearing kick, and I was about 5-6 yards to his right. The dead ball area at The Gnoll is very small and the Neath back row were quickly on Byron for a charge down, so he threw me a hospital pass – on our own dead ball line! Fortunately the pass just about got me on the outside of Neath No.8 Steve Williams, and I got away from him and then stepped inside another Neath forward and the whole field opened up. I got to the half way line with Neath full back Alan Flower approaching, and a couple of other Neath backs coming across from mid field. I managed to stand him up and get a pass off to Ian Jeffries on my outside, but he just got scagged by the cover defence about 10 yards from the try line – it would have been dead ball line to try line score!
Kingsley said to me after, ‘That would have been the best try ever if Jaffa could keep up with you!’ – a bit unfair on Jaffa, as when I made the break he was in front of me so had to get himself on side and get in support from a standing start!”
“After the game, coach Leigh Jones said to me. ‘That’s the best game I’ve seen you play’ – praise indeed form someone who wasn’t my biggest fan!”
The game was massively important for the future of Ebbw Vale in the first season of professional rugby in Wales, with four teams set to be relegated from the Premier Division.
“That win at Neath gave us good momentum and resilience for the fight for pro rugby survival, and ensured that Ebbw had the great seasons to follow”.
Ebbw Vale v Swansea, 1997 Cup Semi–Final, Cardiff Arms Park
After overcoming Bridgend in the quarter-final thanks to a last minute lineout drive, Ebbw went into this Cup semi-final as massive underdogs against Swansea at Cardiff Arms Park.
“I missed the quarter final with a quad strain, scrum half Gareth Bisp had played full back! I hadn’t played since the week before that game and only trained the Thursday before the semi–final and must admit I nursed myself through that session. Kingsley had asked me that week if I was fit. I said ‘Yes, I’m 100%’ with a little bit of hope in my mind.”
“I was picked at full back and Robin Davey wrote in the Argus that my selection was a gamble, as I hadn’t played for a few weeks and I was a makeshift full back!”
Ebbw started slowly and took a while to get into the game but as the game progressed became more and more confident of causing a remarkable cup upset.
“One instance from early on though was a high ball Swansea outside half Aled Williams put up. I jumped to take it, landed, not a hand on me, and thought, ‘here we go‘ , big gap in front of me – as I went to run, ref Derek Bevan gave a big blast on his whistle. As I turned back, Swansea flanker Alan Reynolds was on the deck with Mark Jones stood over him. I thought to myself, ‘F’inghell Jonsey I was away then’ and just looked at him – we walked back to face the penalty, he took his mouth guard out and said to me, ‘Had to do that son, otherwise he’d have killed you!’ – good move Jonesy as the rest of the game went very well for me.”
Harries once again praised Ebbw centre partnership of Jon Hawker and Mike Boys who faced an international duo of Scott Gibbs and Mark Taylor.
“Anyone there that day would testify that our centres Jon & Mike got the upper hand: nothing came through them and I benefited from their ball handling. Boysy stood Gibbs up to put me away for a try and Jon put me on the outside of Mark Taylor from the 1/2 way and we were just stopped short of the line to score again. Minutes later I managed to get away from the Swansea defence from a blindside scrum to put Jaffa over for a try.”
Unfortunately, Ebbw’s first-half left them with too much catching up to do as Swansea progressed to the final, but Ebbw and Harries in particular could be very proud of the performance they put in that day.
“We got close to Swansea but not quite good enough in the first half! Mike Ruddock was Swansea coach and came into our changing rooms after the game and said we’d given them a real fright.”
“I was walking back to the changing rooms after talking with some people straight after the game, and Kingsley was outside talking to the press, one of which was Robin Davey. As I walked passed, Kingsley said, ‘Look Robin, it’s Alun Harries, our man of the match!’”
Ebbw Vale v Cardiff, 3rd Round Cup, 1998
“This game was part of our S4C Saturday night run. We were on TV more than Terry Wogan!”
In the first year that the majority of the club were full time professionals, Ebbw Vale had a great season, regularly beating teams with bigger budgets and fanbases than themselves.
“We weren’t the most talented in the league but we were unified, organised and horrible to play against, so a cold Saturday night at EXP with a full terrace bank was not a great environment for the ‘City Slickers’!”
“In the build–up to the game, S4C pundit Brynmor Williams had written us off, saying Cardiff would be far to strong (unlike Brynmor to be negative towards anybody as he is one of rugby’s gents.)”
“Someone else had claimed that Gareth Thomas’s transfer fee from Bridgend to Cardiff was more than the salaries of all our back line put together.”
“So, with the TV pundits having given us a team talk, a cold EXP and a bank full of the Ebbw faithful, it was game on!”
“We got into Cardiff right from the off, Jon Hawker scored early on and our tails were up. Our pack were battering theirs with Mark Jones and Kuli Faletau man handling the Cardiff ‘boys’, and Richie Collins far too skillful and experienced for the international back row opposite him. Lenny Woodard had been on a barn storming 50m run bouncing players off him, and that was the tone for the whole game – it felt like we had 30 players on the pitch!”
Going into the last few minutes, with Ebbw in front, Lenny Woodard, Byron Hayward and Kingsley Jones combined to put Harries over the whitewash in front of the S4C studio containing Brynmor Williams to win the game.
“We were in front going into the last few minutes. Lenny made a break from our own half up the right–hand side in front of the bank and got a pass off to Byron. We were now behind the Cardiff defence about 40m out. I was trying to get to Byron from left field, then Kingsley appeared in mid–field. Byron passed to him as Cardiff tried to scramble so Kingsley, ball in hand, with Cardiff’s defence chasing, I go back towards the left field space, screaming, ‘Give it, give it’ as the gap between him and me gets bigger as I try to keep the space. He started to wind his pass up from about 15 yards away, on the run. I looked at the covering defence and thought, ‘It’s now or never Kings!’ Now, for all his playing and leadership attributes, Kingsley sparing 15m passes is not top of those attributes! But, fair play the pass came right into my bread basket with enough time and space to out strip the defence. The S4C match day studio was at the cricket end of the ground with Brynmor sat inside, so as I crossed the line for us to seal the game I couldn’t resist putting my hand to my ear and look at Brynmor as if to gesture, ‘What were you saying?”.
The cup run gained Ebbw massive publicity as well as qualification for the Heineken Cup the same year.
“That was a big factor in attracting future quality players for other successes in the following seasons.”
It’s hard to remember a time when Ross Jones wasn’t packing down on the loose head side of the scrum!
He’s been there for Division One, Championship and Premiership glory. Haydn Evans caught up with him to discuss all things Ebbw… and scrummaging, of course.
Watch the interview here:
This week, Haydn Evans interviews number 8 Lewis Young. Find out his thoughts about being part of a rugby dynasty, and the day Ebbw supporters took over Pandy Park.
Ebbw Vale RFC will be joining the Welsh Rugby Union, along with various other sports teams and organisations in taking part in a social media blackout from 15:00 BST on Friday 30th April – 23:59 BST on Monday 3rd May in a show of solidarity against online abuse.
Everybody at EVRFC has been deeply disappointed to see some of the vile abuse people on social media seem to think is acceptable to direct at sports people just doing their job.
The words you say can have a massive impact on the wellbeing of sports people, they are human too.
Just as sport can divide us with healthy rivalry, it also unites us with the values of respect, humility and discipline. Verbal abuse against a sports person in any scenario is not only an attack on them but an attack on the values of the sports we love.
We hope that everybody would take this time to think about the way they behave online and how we, together, can stop this trend of online abuse.
We wish everybody connected with EVRFC a very good bank holiday weekend and ask you enjoy yourselves safely and responsibly.
This week, Haydn Evans caught up with club physio Saran Wyburn to hear about what it’s like to look after the aches, pains and injuries in the Ebbw squad and how she’s missed it all during the pandemic.
You can watch the interview here:
This time, Haydn Evans talks to scrum half Matthew Flanagan about life as a Steelman.
Watch the interview here:
Dai Llewellyn was a stalwart for Ebbw Vale in the 90s and represented the club in two spells as well as gaining experience playing in New Zealand. The scrum half was fortunate enough to play for Wales four times in 1998 and 1999 including scoring a try against Japan in the 1999 Rugby World Cup at the Millennium Stadium. He also featured for the Barbarians and captained Wales 7s. Dai joined media assistant Haydn Evans last week for a new series looking into some famous Ebbw games from the past through the eyes of those that were there.
Treorchy v Ebbw Vale, 1995
Ebbw Vale were promoted to the Premier Division in 1995 after defeating Narberth in the Division One final and struggled in their first season back in the top-flight.
“We had a crisis meeting with Paul Russell, the week before after being smashed by Llanelli by 70/80 points. We sacked the coaches and basically coached ourselves that season”.
“That was a turning point in the history of Ebbw Vale rugby club because we beat Treorchy that day and then went on to beat Abertillery in the local derby the week after, which was massive in us staying up”.
Ebbw Vale 19-11 Toulouse, 1998
Ebbw had come in for a drubbing in the South of France in the away fixture, losing 108-16, the heaviest defeat in a Heineken Cup match ever. Dai had pulled out of the defeat in Toulouse after turning his ankle but was fit to play in the clash at Eugene Cross Park with a number of changes being made to the team.
“We picked a young side and no one expected us to win” he said.
“Jason Strange hadn’t played many games at outside-half but he had a really good game with myself as the halfback’s which always helps. They dropped a few high balls from box kicks early on and I thought we would have them, I think it might have been a little too cold for their fingertips”.
The clash at Eugene Cross Park became an infamous game in European rugby with scuffles breaking out all over the field leading to a number of yellow and red cards, as well as an altercation between the French players and Ebbw supporters in the clubhouse afterwards.
“We didn’t just beat them that day, we beat them up as well” Llewellyn laughed.
“The forwards fronted up, one player that deserves a mention was a young Lee Banks who was fantastic that game, Lee has unfortunately passed away, but he was great that day”.
The brutality of the game took its toll on Llewellyn who thought he’d fractured his jaw, but this didn’t stop him being involved in Wales’ test with South Africa the following week.
“I think that’s a day that will go down in European rugby history, the little Valleys side beating the French giants!”
Ebbw Vale 25-0 Swansea, 1995
Another game from the 1995 season and a match that was significant in Ebbw staying in the Premier Division. However, this game was particularly memorable for Llewellyn for a more personal reason.
“Unfortunately, my father had passed away during that season and I had taken some time off for the funeral and for bereavement”.
In his first game back, Ebbw faced a massive test against a Swansea side containing twelve internationals including Colin Charvis and Garin Jenkins.
“It was an emotional game for me, my Dad never missed a game. Dorian Medlicott came up to me in the club afterwards and said, ‘I knew you were going to win today as soon as you walked into that changing room’”.
“The players, staff and supporters at Ebbw Vale helped me so much when my father passed away. Ebbw even to this day has this Valleys spirit and players want to play for each other”.
If you’d like to feature in our next ‘My Favourite Ebbw Games’ piece, then email email@example.com or contact us on social media @evrfc.
Back-five forward Dan Hill joins new media assistant Haydn Evans in a new feature for the Steelmen’s website and Ebbw Vale TV YouTube channel.
Watch the interview here: https://youtu.be/Aug8BnWfgAM
Dan joined Ebbw in 2019 and talks about his journey in rugby so far which has seen him play at Swansea University, Guernsey, Clifton, Bath A and Wales Students as well as how he has coped with lockdown and keeping fit from home.
Watch until the end to see Dan spill the beans on the funniest & feistiest Steelmen.
Who would you like to see and hear from on the next Steelman in focus video?
Read Roy’spreview of Italia v Cymru, including some strong EVRFC connections with two of the newest stars.
Everyone associated with Ebbw Vale RFC was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Darryl Preece, one of our longest standing and most committed supporters. His brother Martin, a formidable hooker for us in the early 60s, recalled Darryl’s passion for the Steelmen, saying, “I don’t think he missed many matches over the years — even wet Wednesday evenings in west Wales during those fantastic cup runs!”
We send our sincere condolences to Darryl’s family. He will be greatly missed.
Head Coach Greg Woods has led the congratulations to centre Aneurin Owen and prop Chris Coleman who have earned new contracts with the Dragons. Both players became firm favourites with Ebbw supporters over recent seasons, and impressed for Wales Under 20s.
“Llongyfarchiadau, bois,” from all at Eugene Cross Park.
Join us online to reminisce old times with current and former players the night before the Wales v England game in the 2021 6 Nations. Friday 26th of February at 7:30pm, a great chance to have a pint, social and talk everything Ebbw Vale and Welsh rugby!
Our very own Dale Winton ‘Greg Woods’ will be hosting a question-and-answer session with the players along with stories of years gone by.
Our Special Guests for the evening are:
To register to gain access to our club zoom please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 22nd February
We are taking donations to support our fundraising for the club’s charity Hospice Of The Valleys if you would like to make a donation but you don’t have to.
Date 26th February
Location: Ebbw Vale RFC ZOOM Online
As we have no rugby due to the current pandemic, we want to give you a few things that will give you a boost.
So, we have put together a few Ebbw Vale RFC backdrops and wallpapers for your phones and desktops to remind you of the good times which will hopefully be back soon
You can download them by clicking the following link http://www.mediafire.com/folder/el7kd3ktdc66y/Ebbw_Vale_Fan_Pack
Ebbw Vale supporters can now purchase our reusable branded face coverings so you can stay safe.
Following on from a high uptake on the first order we now have in stock a number of the VX-3 Ebbw Vale RFC face coverings, priced at £6 each.
The face covers are available in adult and juniors sizes and are washable, reusable, provide a large covering and are triple layer in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for non medical masks.
The latest advice from the Welsh Government, based on updated guidance from the WHO, is to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport. For more information from the Welsh Government click https://gov.wales/3-layer-face-coverings-recommended-not-mandatory-certain-situations-wales
Due to the current pandemic the club will only be posting these out, when ordering your mask please provide your address and also postage will be an additional cost on top of the mask price. Postage is £1.50 *depending on how many masks are bought, and is the only delivery option under current circumstances.
To order and purchase your Ebbw Vale RFC Face Covering email email@example.com
Please note: All of our face coverings are for personal use. They are not suitable for hospital / medical use and therefore do not take away from NHS supplies. They are NOT medical grade masks or personal protective equipment (PPE). For more information please click https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
It was just over a year ago that Patrick Harrington QC was involved in a road traffic accident that left him seriously ill. This week, his friend and fellow legal professional, our President Mark Powell QC reports meeting Patrick who is now back at work following what may be termed a miraculous recovery. He is looking forward to returning to Eugene Cross Park to watch the Steelmen in action (as are we all!) and told Mark he’d been entertaining himself over the weekend by reading the REL archive.
Naturally, everyone at the club is delighted to learn of Patrick’s return to health, and we send best wishes to him and his family.
The club has 15 bobble hats left to purchase on a first come first served basis.
These will be priced at £16 and to order your bobble hat please email firstname.lastname@example.org Payment will be by BACS transfer and details of the club’s account will be supplied to you when you place your order.
Due to the current pandemic the club will only be posting these out, when ordering your mask please provide your address and also postage will be an additional cost on top of the bobble hat price. Postage is £1.50 *depending on how many hats are bought, and is the only delivery option under current circumstances.
Best wishes to everyone from all at Ebbw Vale RFC.
Blwyddyn newydd dda i chi gyd.
We were very sorry to hear that Mel Williams, father of former Steelman Gareth ‘Denver’ Williams, passed away this week. We send our deepest sympathies to all the family.
Bobble hats will be available for collection from Gareth at the clubhouse car park on Wednesday 9th December between 2pm-5pm for those who had pre ordered them.
If you need to get in contact please email email@example.com
For those who chose to have them posted out, they will be sent this week.