Ebbw Vale have high hopes for Sweet
EBBW Vale are delighted that lock Ashley Sweet has agreed to stay as a Steelman but believe it’s a matter of time before he is leaving them to become a regional player.
The 23-year-old has been one of the standout players at Eugene Cross Park over the past two seasons and it has been expected that he would move on this summer.
Bristol had a look at the former Wales Under-20s lock while the Scarlets were interested before head coach Nigel Davies made the move to Gloucester.
There were other options in the English Championship and Welsh Premiership but Sweet has opted to bide his time.
He will continue working with head coach Neil Edwards, the former Wales A lock who is confident that his protégé will soon be making the step up.
“Ashley should be a regional player,” said Edwards. “It hasn’t happened for him quite yet but it’s only a matter of time.
“He is working towards something here and has made massive strides over the last couple of seasons.
“Ashley has all the physical attributes and on match day he is big, strong, enjoys having the ball in his hands, makes plenty of tackles and is strong in the lineout.
“There was plenty of interest in him and to be honest I was prepared for Ashley moving on; that’s what we are working towards here.
“Ashley epitomises what we are about. He doesn’t miss a training session and gives 100 per cent on the pitch.”
That Sweet is set to line up for the Steelmen in the Championship provides evidence of the strides made at Eugene Cross Park since their relegation from the Premiership in 2010, according to Edwards.
“He feels that we are the best option for his development rather than perhaps regressing by moving to another Premiership club,” he said.
“Ashley has worked hard with me and the other coaches and it great for us that he has decided to stay because it shows we have created a good environment.”
Now the Steelmen, mindful that Sweet will eventually move on, will look to develop their next top lock and will look for Rhys Clarke (Penallta) and Andrew Mann (Brynmawr) to progress in the coming season after arriving at Eugene Cross Park.