JASON Strange has declared that it’s business as usual at Eugene Cross Park following his ascension to the Ebbw Vale hotseat, writes Chris Kirwan.

The former fly-half has taken over as head coach after Neil Edwards returned to his former club Neath.

Strange was backs coach as the Steelmen won back-to-back Division One East titles and believes that the blow will not derail their challenge for the Championship title.

Second-placed Ebbw, who travel to bottom club Whitland this afternoon, have won all seven of their game and trail leaders Bargoed by a solitary point. “It’s disappointing that Neil has gone but we had a good partnership and I don’t think that anything will change,” said Strange.

“Everything will continue as normal and Neil would have been the first to say that our success has been down to the environment created by the players.

“We have done well because of their hard work and as long as that ethos continues – which I don’t doubt it will – then we will keep moving forward as a club. I’d like to think that we won’t stand still as a club or as individuals and that all of us will want to keep developing and reaching our full potential. That culture is driven by the players.”

Ebbw have advertised for a new forwards coach to work alongside Strange and skills coach Llyr Lane.

There has already been interest in the post and the role will be fulfilled in the interim by club captain Damien Hudd, who is currently injured, with experienced hooker Mathew Williams providing extra insight.

Pontypool earned their first win of the season when they beat Whitland last week and will try to make it two on the bounce when they travel to Gwent rivals, and fellow strugglers, Blackwood.

The Glan-yr-Afon Park outfit have suffered plenty of narrow losses and appear to be better than 12th in the table, but need to prove that by getting wins on the board. Newbridge are going well – an away loss to Ebbw Vale their only slip-up – but will face a stern test at Bonymaen.

Other fixtures: Bargoed v Narberth, Beddau v Tata Steel, Bridgend Athletic v Glamorgan Wanderers, Cardiff Met v Llanharan.