FLANKER Scott Matthews is relishing the chance to lead from the front after being appointed as Pontypool's captain for their Premiership promotion push.

The combative back row forward established himself as a key figure after making the move from Cross Keys last summer.

The 25-year-old from New Tredegar scored 10 tries in 19 appearances as Pooler won a hat-trick of Championship titles only to fall short in their promotion play-off against Llanelli.

Matthews has been chosen as skipper in the bid for a fourth crown – which carries the prize of automatic promotion – and succeeds fellow flanker Rob Nash.

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"It is a huge honour for me and a role I will take extremely seriously," said Matthews, who was capped by Wales Under-20s and made six Dragons appearances between 2013 and 2015.

"You only have to look at the captain's board at Pontypool Park to see the quality individuals that have come before me. I'm not daunted by the challenge and I'm relishing the opportunity to lead Pooler into another vitally important season.

"Despite being captain, we have a number of leaders in the squad. When you look around the changing room, there are scores of players with huge amounts of experience and I will be looking for their input over the next 12 months.

"It will also be a huge benefit to me to have Rob as part of the squad. He is a respected memberof the group and will continue to play a vital role."

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Head coach Leighton Jones believes Matthews is the ideal candidate to lead Pooler in what promises to be a much tougher Championship season after Neath, Bargoed, Cross Keys and Bedwas dropped down from the Premiership.

"Scott is a quality performer who enjoyed an impressive first season at the club," said Jones. "He has the respect of the squad and I have no doubts that he will be an excellent captain.

"Despite his relatively young age, he has a wealth of experience and has been there and done it when it comes to the club game in Wales.

"I would like to place on record my thanks to Rob Nash. He has been outstanding captain for us over the last two seasons and will continue to be a key member of the squad throughout the coming 12 months."