12:03pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014
WELSH Premiership rugby league champions Torfaen Tigers are preparing for the biggest day in the club's history - a debut appearance in the Tetleys Challenge Cup.
They travel to South West London Chargers in the first round of the famous old trophy on Saturday, February 1.
In preparation for this and their title defence this summer, the club has added former South Wales Scorpions academy team manager Wayne Ponting and ex-Wales Dragonhearts prop Rhys Miller to their backroom staff.
The Tigers were founded in April 2003 by a group of local rugby league enthusiasts and in their inaugural season finished third in the Welsh Conference and reached the final of the RFL National Plate.
The club enjoyed moderate success over the following seasons, including a Harry Jepson Trophy semi-final appearance in 2004, finishing as Welsh Premier runners-up in 2005 and Welsh Championship Division league leaders in 2010, this despite there nomadic existence that saw them play home games at the Polo Grounds, Emlyn Park and the Memorial Ground amongst others.
During this period the club produced many players who have gained international recognition for Wales Dragonhearts, Wales Schoolboys and Wales under-18s as well as one, Damien Hudd, who gained full Welsh international honours.
Jamie Tibbs and Gil Dudson also represented Great Britain under-18s with Dudson now playing for Super League and Challenge Cup double winners Wigan Warriors and the full Welsh side.
In 2012 the club underwent a major restructure that saw ex-coach Rob Davies appointed chairman, a whole new committee was formed and the club finally found a new permanent home at Cwmbran RFC’s Kings Head ground.
Following this restructure the club returned to the field in 2013 under the guidance of newly appointed coaching team of Ex-Tigers and Wales Dragonhearts player Jamie Williams and veteran Rugby Union coach and former club physio Chris Bailey.
The new coaching team clicked instantly with the team enjoying great success winning their first Welsh Premiership title and recording a club record 80-24 victory over Cardiff Demons.
Three players also gained international honours with club captain Gareth Rusby-Davies and centre Kyle Scrivens representing Wales Dragonhearts in the Home Nations and loose forward Mike Edwards representing Wales under-18s in their autumn tests.
The club is currently looking for sponsors and volunteers and anyone interested should contact the club on 07553437355 or TorfaenTigersRL@hotmail.co.uk
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