The departure and arrival lounges at Ebbw Vale RFC have been as busy as Cardiff Airport on a Dublin Wales game. A huge amount of effort has been put in by the coaching and support teams to ensure we are in a position to better this season’s 7th position.
Over the next couple of weeks we will bring you up to speed, starting today…
Winging in and Out
The club is delighted that January signings Steffan Thomas and Will Holley will be continuing with the Steelmen in the coming season. Both had the opportunity, through brief cameo roles during the season and impressive performances in the Fosters Cup, and are expected to play a much bigger role in the coming season
Steffan has enjoyed a great season with Ynysddu and, with his pace and ability to beat a man, the 22 year old will fit into the plans of an expansive game plan that the Steelmen will look to execute in 2017-18.
Will is capable of playing wing and full back and will bring pace, strength and a big kicking game to the Steelmen. He has been the top points scorer at Mountain Ash and is capable of kicking long distances out of hand and for the posts. At 19 years old he has a long career ahead of him at Eugene Cross Park.
Joining these relative newcomers are Elis-Wyn Benham, Andy Evans and Toby Fricker.
Will Holley Andy Evans Elis-Wyn Benham Steffan Thomas
21-year-old Elis-Wyn has been capped for Wales at U16, 18 and 20’s levels and makes the journey along the Heads of the Valleys from Merthyr RFC. He is a product of the Blues Academy and has also played for Cardiff Blues and the premiership team. He brings with him pace, power and the ability to beat an opponent with little space and is sure to become a favourite of the Ebbw Addicts. Elis-Wyn is looking forward to the start of what he feels will be an exciting time for him and the club. You can watch him in action here.
Andy Evans joins from Gwent Premiership rivals Bedwas and has always impressed when playing against the Steelmen. Andy has played for Newbridge, Wales Students and Wales 7’s and is a clever and powerful runner who can also play in the 13 channel. Andy is looking forward to playing in front of the large support that follows the Steelmen.
21-year-old Toby Fricker has been recommended to the club following his exploits for Welsh Academicals where he has played at wing, full back and 13. He is Welsh qualified through his father who is from Builth Wells. A native of London, Toby went through the London Scottish Academy prior to moving to Southampton University and he will be moving to Wales to complete a Masters degree. At over 6ft tall and weighing 15st 7lb he will bring a powerful and fast carrying game to the Steelmen and is very excited at the prospect of running out at Eugene Cross Park.
Last season’s Premiership Try of the Season winner, Brynmawr’s Ryan Gardner, suffered an injury ravaged season, but will train with Steelmen this summer before deciding whether to drop down a level in search of regular rugby to aid his return to playing at the top level. We all hope to see him in the club colours in the future as his superb work rate, support running and finishing prowess have earned him many admirers aamong the Ebbw faithful.
Sadly the exit lounge includes Chris Levesley who is looking to concentrate on 7’s once he has recovered from the facial injury sustained in the second away fixture at RGC. The diminutive but lion hearted winger will be missed by all at the club, his exciting running the perfect foil to his laid back demeanor off the field, he has been a pleasure to have at the club and hopefully we will see him once again in Ebbw colours in the future.
Local lad Craig Duncan will be another missing from the red, green and white in the coming season. The RTB product has embarked on a career with the Royal Marines and goes with our very best wishes. He will always be remembered for his first league game for the club at Cross Keys, surely one of the finest Ebbw debuts ever! We look forward to welcoming Craig to ECP in the future.
There’ll be more to come on Monday…