This week we spoke to head coach Jason Strange where we looked forward to the Cardiff game and discussed the season.
Reviewing the season, Jason is so proud of everyone at the club for what they have achieved. He believes it has been done the right way as a club by fully committing to the vision to be an independent club and successful business and have stuck to their principles and remained authentic.
Jason thinks it is important to keep things in perspective and not to have a short memory, especially considering fifteen months ago the club only had 25 registered players and were getting beat by 40 points, sitting at the bottom of the league.
He stated they had to be brave and rip everything up and start again with a clear vision to build not just a team but rebuild the whole club with a clear plan. The club are now in a fantastic position, with a sensible business model, are self-sufficient, have a great supporter base, a very good young team and a major ground development, which will be fantastic not just for the club but for the entire area and take the club to another level.
At the heart of the club there is now a clear strategy and plan around which everyone, and everything, works. It dictates who is signed, how the team play and how young players are developed. Jason and the management want to develop players from within by investing and improving players to fulfil their potential. Secondly, they never use finance as an excuse not to do well, instead they maximise what they have at the club by being resourceful. No help has been received off anyone, just lots of hard work by a lot of people.
Jason stated success can be measured in many different ways. This season was all part of the journey to build not just a team but a successful club for the long term. Everyone is now engaged and on the same path whatever their role in the club.
Jason is buoyed and excited by the potential of the team. He and the management team have a young hungry squad of our own players that are only going to get better and continue to grow, which is hugely exciting. The squad have got some fantastic qualities and will have learnt some valuable lessons to take forward this season.
Looking forward to next season, Jason believes it is also great that another Gwent club is joining the Premiership, which he personally feels is long overdue. He is delighted for head coach Leighton Jones, the Jeffrey`s family and Pontypool as a club, especially as Ebbw have been in that position as a club, when the league was ring fenced for three years in 2011 and it certainly tests loyalties towards the club. He added Pontypool will add value to the Premiership, especially as they have a great supporter base, which is exactly what any league deserves.
Previewing this Saturday’s final home game of the season against Cardiff, Jason advised it is a game the players are looking forward too. Cardiff have lots of playing resources, so it will be a nice challenge for the squad.
Looking at the whole season Jason acknowledged it has been a really enjoyable season. The Premiership product is excellent and very good value for money; however, it is extremely disappointing what’s happened with Llanelli RFC and is sure that the WRU are aware of what has happened and if not will surely investigate the cause of why it has happened.
Unfortunately, it seems the squad will be punished and miss out on the play offs for playing the fixtures by the original end of the season deadline, which has now been extended. However, whatever happens between now and the end of the season, whether we win a trophy or not, everyone connected with the club can be extremely proud of what’s been achieved this season. The team is young and talented and will keep improving and growing together over the coming years. Everyone is enjoying being at the club again and pride has been restored, which was always the main goal.
Jason finished by thanking everyone for their support this season.