Nantyglo RFC have celebrated their SWALEC Division 4 East title by lifting the trophy for the first time today (Saturday 21st June). Mal Beynon of the WRU presented the trophy, which was hard earned via a difficult win against Cwmbran RFC back in May. The team clawed back from a half time score of 7 - 12 to take home a convincing 18 -12 victory.
This is the second successive title win for the side, and has enabled them to reach their highest ever position in the leagues. The team, who have now been playing together for two seasons, say they have become almost like family, with team manager Paul Cooper alongside coaches Jason Williams, Jason Cook and Nigel Meek bringing out the best in the players, week on week.
Nick Philppen has enjoyed a memorable first campaign as Club Captain. Philppen said: “Cwmbran was a tough match to end the season. We went into it very confident we’d win it but in the end we were clinging for our lives and had to hold on to come through. To be honest we had the hairdryer treatment at half time and going out during the second half we put some phases together, got points on the board and we came through with a win. It was a great win in fairness to the boys.
“There’s no doubt it will be a tough league next year with a lot of local derbies – every team has to fight for their lives. Hopefully we can keep attracting the local supporters to come out and join us week in week out as they have done this season. The crowd makes such a difference for us. The support for the club has grown even more this year and the community have really rallied around us.”
Head coach Jason Williams said: “A massive influence on our achievements this year is the togetherness at the club – we’ve got friends playing together, they drink together, they party together. They know each other inside out. They’ve all gone through school together and have grown up with each other and they’ve wanted to come down and train in all kinds of weather and play every Saturday because it’s very social.
“Looking ahead to next season we’ll be playing at a higher level coming from grassroots rugby and a lot of teams in the next division warrant a lot of respect. They won’t be easy places to go and win. Questions are going to be asked of the management, the coaches and the players next season for us to step up against our new opponents and deliver. We’ve been unbeaten on this ground for two years and the boys won’t want to lose that winning mentality at home. If we can make it a fortress next year with our supporters coming out to support us then we’ve got a great chance.”
WRU Board Member Mal Beynon said: “Nantyglo RFC are a progressive club who have and are continuing to do a lot for rugby in Gwent. They’ve been a successful club over the years with a tremendous hard-working committee backing them all the way and since joining the Welsh Rugby Union two years ago, they have led by example and clinched successive titles. I wish them the very best for next season’s endeavours.”
SWALEC is the national community partner of the Welsh Rugby Union and sponsors both the SWALEC Leagues and SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl competitions.