With 4 clubs definitely facing relegation and a further team facing play off with the winners of the Championship, the Premiership will be no place for the faint hearted in the coming months
To lead us into what is sure to be an exciting and testing season, coach Greg Woods has appointed Ronny Kynes as Captain for a second season. Ronny had a baptism of fire last year with the club having a poor start to the season, but led by example, holding the squad together on and off the field. His leadership skills were a key part of the turnaround in the season, along with experience and leading role in the culture of the club; he proved to be more than an able successor to Damien Hudd. We should see Ronny reach 200 games in his 8thseason for the club and with over 80 tries to his credit he could well come close to another major landmark of 100 tries.
The club is delighted to announce a total of 9 new signings to the squad, as follows.
Ashley Sweet, having suffered an injury ravaged 2 years with the Dragons, returns to the club and will combine his Forwards Coach role with a return to the field of play, following a successful back operation. Ashley will provide experience and proven line out expertise to the Steelmen. Joining Ashley will be tight head prop Curtis Hicks who appeared a number of times on permit from Newbridge in the last campaign, impressing coaching and playing staff alike. A product of the Rumney Cardiff club, he will look to force his way into the starting 15 in the coming months. To complete recruitment in each row of the scrum, flanker Owen Young has joined from Aberdare after impressing in the final game of last season at Cross Keys
This sees 6 new recruits, encompassing all parts of the backs division. The highly experienced former Wales 7s international Geraint Rhys Jones has signed from the Scarlets and will look to make the 10 shirt his own. The elder brother of Addicts favourite Dorian will add quality to the back division and all are looking forward to seeing him repeat his performance against RGC in April 2017 on a weekly basis. He will be joined by scrum half Matthew Flanagan who has played over 50 games for the Llanelli club side under the coaching of his elder brother Dai, who was a firm favourite at Pontypridd for many years. Matthew is yet another product of the Penallta club and he will add slick passing and power to the team. Centre Paul King has signed from the Newbridge after impressing at the end of the season with his sound defensive qualities and ability to make a break. The back 3 sees 3 new faces added, wings James Gahan and Dan Davies and fullback/wing Luke Shore looking to make a mark under the coaching of James Lewis and Lewis Roberts. James, a resident of Hilltop, joins from Blaenavon and impressed with strong defence and fast powerful running in a couple of appearances from the bench at the end of the season. Dan joins the club from Nelson RFC and is a fast and elusive runner who has also spent time in Scotland where he played for the Scottish Bravehearts RL team for 2 seasons. The final recruit in the back 3 is Luke who is a product of Ebbw Fawr Learning Community and also impressed on his debut late season for the Steelmen. Luke came under the influence of coach Jason Strange and this can be seen in his approach to the running side of the game; the club has high hopes for this former Dragons Academy and Newbridge Youth product.
We would like to wish all the following players the best wishes for the future:
Srdan Madjc who makes the short trop down the Western Valley to Cross Keys.
Lewis Denett who is transferring with work to London and will play his rugby at the Richmond club in the Championship.
Josh Jacas who leaves in pursuit of regular rugby as he overcomes his injury difficulties and will be joining Newbridge.
The squad has retained a strong core of experienced Premiership players, key to the culture and environment that has been fostered over the last 8 seasons. There are players entering their 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th seasons with the club, across all areas of the squad.
Ross Jones, Joel Harries, Jordan Rogers, Curtis Hicks, Rob Sevenoaks
Rhys Francis, Joe Franchi
Ashley Sweet, Lance Randall, Kristian Parker, Rhys Clark
Ronny Kynes, Cameron Regan, Owen Young, Lewis Young, Jonathan Davies,
Dai Jones, Sam Ireland, Matthew Flanagan
Geraint Rhys Jones, Callum Hall
Paul King, James Lewis, Dom Franchi, Dai Langdon
Steffan Thomas, Toby Fricker, Dan Davies , James Gahan, Luke Shore, Dan Haymond
There will also be a number of local players on trial at the club during pre season.