Tough times ahead on the field for Pooler

PONTYPOOL RFC rise this morning faced not only with the stark reality of having been dropped out of the Premiership but also by the daunting prospect of a mammoth rebuilding job.

Yesterday’s courtroom decision that backed the Welsh Rugby Union’s restructuring of the leagues condemned Pooler to the Championship.

They don’t have long to lick their wounds – the season starts in seven weeks and the courtroom battle has left them unable to plan for it.

The uncertainty surrounding the club’s future led to an exodus of players and the undoing of plenty of hard graft.

Pooler’s 12th-place finish last season doesn’t sound mightily impressive but it was their best campaign for some time, all despite rumblings about the Premiership restructuring in the background.

They looked like a club that was developing with a strong coaching team and a tight set of players.

But eight of Pooler’s squad from last season – full-back Geraint O’Driscoll, fly-half Tom Hancock, centres Dan Robinson and Adam Davies, scrum-half Andrew Quick, hooker Ryan Prosser, lock Rhodri Jones and flanker Craig Attwell – have headed for rivals Newport this summer.

Back row forward James Thomas has penned a deal with Bedwas, lock Rhys Bowen has moved to Abertillery and a number of Dragons academy players who plied their trade at Pontypool Park last term have been allocated elsewhere.

There have been losses on the sidelines as well as on the field.

Former head coach James Chapron is unable to combine the job with his role heading the Dragons academy and his assistant Shaun Connor has left for a job as WRU skills coach based with the Ospreys.

Pooler need to work fast to build a squad for the 14-team Championship where they will be going up against some pretty formidable outfits.

Ebbw Vale, Newbridge and Bargoed were very strong in Division One East last season and stunned Premiership opposition in the Swalec Cup.

They possess gnarly, well-seasoned packs while the opposition from out west promises to be just as uncompromising.

Pooler have shown plenty of fighting spirit off the field in recent months but now their players will need to display even more on it.

Rebuilding is nothing new to those at Pooler. Just four seasons ago they did a fine job in returning to the top flight from Division One East.

But this time they have had the stuffing knocked out of them and are hindered by a feeling of it just not being fair.

It was that spell out of the top flight that led to them not making the re-jigged Premiership, because of a meritocracy table (six-year record).

The next few months will be vital in Pooler’s bid to return to where they feel they belong in the future.

Comments (6)

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8:17am Thu 12 Jul 12

arvinda strop says...

It was that spell out of the top flight that led to them not making the re-jigged Premiership, because of a meritocracy table (six-year record).
Interesting how long were camarthen quins in dev. 1 west in the last six years ???
It was that spell out of the top flight that led to them not making the re-jigged Premiership, because of a meritocracy table (six-year record). Interesting how long were camarthen quins in dev. 1 west in the last six years ??? arvinda strop

10:41am Thu 12 Jul 12

Cymro57 says...

Under the system used (I believe 1 point for last place, 2 for penultimate etc), Quins accumulated 41 points in the 6 seasons and Pooler 36. Tonmawr had 33.

Neath were top non-surprisingly with 94 followed by Pontypridd on 88, Newport 83 and Aberavon 80.
Under the system used (I believe 1 point for last place, 2 for penultimate etc), Quins accumulated 41 points in the 6 seasons and Pooler 36. Tonmawr had 33. Neath were top non-surprisingly with 94 followed by Pontypridd on 88, Newport 83 and Aberavon 80. Cymro57

10:43am Thu 12 Jul 12

Cymro57 says...

Meant to say too that Ebbw on 60 and Glam Wands on 56 would have been safe IF they hadn't been relegated and they would have been taken the places of Quins and Llandovery.
Meant to say too that Ebbw on 60 and Glam Wands on 56 would have been safe IF they hadn't been relegated and they would have been taken the places of Quins and Llandovery. Cymro57

8:08pm Thu 12 Jul 12

Newport Dave says...

No need for Pooler to worry or panic. If I recall correctly, when Ebbw Vale were relegated they only held on to two players and none of the coaching staff.
Their record over the last two seasons has been outstanding.
No reason why Pooler can't do this as well.
No need for Pooler to worry or panic. If I recall correctly, when Ebbw Vale were relegated they only held on to two players and none of the coaching staff. Their record over the last two seasons has been outstanding. No reason why Pooler can't do this as well. Newport Dave

9:40pm Thu 12 Jul 12

Tak523SC says...

No doubt this is going to be a tough season rebuilding but I look forward to visiting clubs this year and showing them how Pooler fans support their club. I still feel the WRU behaved disgracefully though. But, it's over now. We have to accept the judgement and now move on. Dare I say it ..... the honesty in me says I'm glad that there's no relegation. We'll bounce back, I'm sure !
No doubt this is going to be a tough season rebuilding but I look forward to visiting clubs this year and showing them how Pooler fans support their club. I still feel the WRU behaved disgracefully though. But, it's over now. We have to accept the judgement and now move on. Dare I say it ..... the honesty in me says I'm glad that there's no relegation. We'll bounce back, I'm sure ! Tak523SC

12:28am Mon 16 Jul 12

CM1 says...

I suggest that the players, whoever they may be, just go out and enjoy themselves. With no promotion or relegation, the division is pointless, so results don't really matter.
I suggest that the players, whoever they may be, just go out and enjoy themselves. With no promotion or relegation, the division is pointless, so results don't really matter. CM1

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