EBBW Vale have announced a quartet of centres who will return to Eugene Cross Park next season to battle for midfield starts, writes Chris Kirwan.

Dom Franchi, Paul King, Ryan Evans and Ethan Phillips will all be part of Greg Woods’ squad when the green light is given for the Premiership kick-off.

Former Wales Under-20s international Franchi, twin of captain and hooker Joe, will enjoy a sixth season as a Steelman.

The strong-running headed to Ebbw from Newport in 2015 and the 26-year-old from Brynmawr has passed a century of appearances for the club.

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King, who can also cover on the wing, is a fans’ favourite thanks to his whole-hearted approach and the 27-year-old, who previously played for Newport and Cardiff, will return for a third campaign.

Ryan Evans joined from Bridgend in December and helped Ebbw to put themselves on the brink of safety from relegation when the season was cancelled because of coronavirus.

The 26-year-old, whose favoured position is 13 but can also play fly-half and full-back, banged over a long-range penalty in challenging conditions in the impressive 10-10 draw at Llandovery in January.

Ethan Phillips adapted to life in the Premiership after moving from Brymawr and the former Ebbw Fawr School student is comfortable at either 10 or 12.

In recent seasons the Steelmen have been allocated the Dragons’ Wales Under-20s prospect Aneurin Owen and they could well profit if the 19-year-old, who is aiming for a breakthrough campaign at senior level after leaving age-grade rugby, is sent out for game time.