LEE Davies has been installed as Ebbw Vale’s head coach following the decision by Nigel Davies to step down.
The former, forwards coach at Eugene Cross Park this season, is joined in the management setup by new attacks and backs coach Ben Daniels, who arrives from Beddau.
They will be supported by strength and conditioning coach Lewis Roberts, who has occupied the role for the last four seasons, and team manager Martyn Cooke.
Added to those four are analyst and recruitment chief Darren Venn and Rhys Shorney, for whom next term will be his eighth with the club.
“I am extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to become head coach of such a prestigious club, a club that has provided me with some of my most memorable moments as a player,” said Lee Davies. “Hopefully this can now transition into my time as a coach.
“Unfortunately, this season has been a little disappointing for a number of reasons. However, I am now looking forward to getting down to some hard work.
“The boys will have a good off-season allowing them to come back in pre-season rested and recovered from the endeavours of the previous campaigns.
“Of late, we as a coaching and playing group have spent time reviewing and analysing the season, identifying key elements that need changing, improving and tightening up.
“I aim to get back to basics with the group. On the face of it I ultimately want us to be as professional as possible, which will mean effective provision of strength and conditioning programmes, analysis and on field performance.
“However, underpinning this will be traditional old school rugby club values of togetherness, trust and respect, which will be fostered by a senior leadership group, giving players a greater ownership of their environment.
“On field, I would like us to develop our playing style, to become more expansive and have the ability to play the picture we see.
“Again, this will be underpinned by foundations in place from this year, with a big, strong set-piece and a solid defensive platform.
“With recruitment going well and the majority of the current squad re-signed I am more than confident we have the ability and personnel to adapt and play a wider brand of rugby.
“Finally, a big target for me is to re-engage with our supporters. Without the support and backing of our loyal fans we would definitely be a weaker outfit.
“Our aim is to give back a little, holding supporter and family fun days so that the club engages with the whole community. Together we will succeed.”
On the new appointments, Steelmen chairman Jonathan Jones added: “Lee has impressed with his technical knowledge and passion for the club and I am certain that he is the right man to take the club forward in partnership with Ben, who he has worked with previously.
“Ben is an impressive young coach who is full of ideas and passion and, unknown to him, part one of his interview was at the Beddau game.
“Having noted how Beddau went about managing the game, I listened to the messages he was sending on to the field and was impressed with the content and passion in those messages.
“I would like to thank Beddau for their co-operation in allowing Ben to come to Ebbw Vale and he is now the third coach to make that transition.
“I’m sure that Lee, Ben and the rest of the team will be able to count on the continued support and passion from the Ebbw Addicts in the coming seasons.”
Daniels, 29, started his coaching career at the age of 18 as a Cardiff Blues community coach, gaining valuable help from Chris Jones, Clive Jones and Neil Boobyer with Rhondda Schools rugby.
More recently, Daniels has been attack/backs coach and then head coach at Beddau, helping them gain promotion back to the Championship and finishing this season in fourth place.
“Being asked to coach such a massive club as Ebbw Vale is a huge honour for me as a young, ambitious coach,” he said.
“It was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse with Ebbw Vale’s traditional rugby history and values really attracting me to the role.
“Also knowing that with the role comes a big responsibility but also excitement as well.
“To be appointed as the attack/backs coach is something I have been waiting for over a long period.
“I feel this is the next big step for me in climbing the ladder to coaching rugby at a professional level.
“I hope to give the club and dedicated fans continued on-field rugby success for the season approaching.
“To coach Ebbw Vale, who are one of the biggest rugby clubs in Wales, in the Welsh Premiership is a real privilege.
“I am hugely excited to be playing my part in the Steelmen’s coaching staff for the 2017-18 season and look forward to the challenge ahead.
“I wish to thank the club for appointing me and look forward to some big successes along the way.”
He continued: “My rugby philosophy is of an attacking mindset. Part of my role will be to develop all players’ fundamentals, core skills, and decision making.
“Seeing players play with a high skill level with tempo will hopefully excite the fans at Ebbw Vale for the season ahead.
“Instilling players with the confidence to attack and score tries will be intriguing for all in the coming season.
“The new season will see some new, young, talented players who have put pen to paper at Ebbw Vale.
“Hopefully the fans will be on the edge of their seats to see some new, young talent and the new attacking mindset of the Steelmen going forward.”