Newbridge ring the changes ahead of Championship campaign

First published in Gwent Rugby

RHYS Bowen and Kristian Owen have joined the Newbridge management team ahead of the Swalec Championship season, writes Chris Kirwan.

Former Ebbw Vale and Pontypool back rower Bowen,35, has been appointed as forwards coach while 34-year-old Owen, a former centre with the Steelmen and Bedwas, is looking after the backs.

They arrive from Abertillery and Dowlais respectively and will work alongside team manager and strength and conditioning coach Darren Venn.

'Bridge, who finished eight points clear of relegation in 12th in the Championship last season, have also been busy in the recruitment market.

They have snapped up a quartet of experienced players in number eight David Ford from Blackwood and the Bedwas trio of prop Ian George, centre Scott Williams and lock James Connors.

"We've made quite a few changes and everyone at the club has been working really hard in pre-season," said Venn.

"Kristian and Rhys have brought in some different ideas and it's freshened things up; the squad seem to be enjoying themselves even if they have had some tough fitness work.

"Hopefully we can push on as the season approaches and have a good year.

"We'll also be running a development side this year as well; that's something that I am particularly passionate about and hopefully that will help us bring the youth through at the club."

'Bridge open their season at Tondu on September 6 and play their first home game when they welcome Narberth to the Welfare Ground the following weekend.

- Abertillery have appointed former Ebbw Vale, Brynmawr and Tredegar tighthead Kristian Gay as forwards coach.

- Cross Keys are looking for volunteers to help get Pandy Park spick and span when they take part in the NatWest RugbyForce on Saturday, August 16.

The club are combining the project with a family fun day that includes coaching sessions for local junior teams, a barbecue, duck race and other activities.

For more information ring Angie Prangell on 07843 342954, email crosskeysrfc@btinternet.com or contact them on Twitter @crosskeysrfc

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