EBBW Vale stalwart Ronny Kynes is leaving Eugene Cross Park to join Bargoed as the Steelmen “bow to financial pressures”.

The flanker was a leading figure in helping the Steelmen bounce back from relegation to win two Division One East and two Championship titles to return to the Premiership.

The 33-year-old helped Ebbw complete the story by winning the title in 2016 and succeeded Damien Hudd to become captain.

However, after eight seasons at Eugene Cross Park – playing 201 games and scoring 97 tries, many of them from the driving lineout – he is moving to the Bulls, who were relegated from the Premiership last season.

South Wales Argus: ON THE RUN: Flanker Ronny Kynes goes on the charge against Carmarthen Quins in Ebbw's November win

Kynes missed much of the campaign with a foot injury and will leave a large void at the club, with Ebbw stating they have had to make some hard decisions because of their financial situation.

“With the last few years being extremely tough financially it has become necessary for the club to bow to financial pressures whilst considering the squad for the coming season,” said a club statement.

“The officials of the club would encourage all supporters of the club to assist in maintaining a strong club by getting involved in initiatives such as Friends of Ebbw Vale RFC, supporting the club lottery, assisting in raising sponsorship and volunteering to assist in any way they can.

“Supporters can be assured that Greg Woods and his staff are working hard to bring in new talent to the club to strengthen what is already a strong core group and that we are confident that we have the right group of players and coaching staff to keep Premiership rugby in North Gwent.”

South Wales Argus:

Former Dragons and Scarlets fly-half Rhys Jones is also leaving the club with Merthyr his destination.

"This was purely a financial decision by the club and Rhys has displayed great integrity in this situation that has been difficult for both parties," said the statement.

"All at the club wish Rhys a successful season at the Wern and he can be assured of a warm welcome at Eugene Cross Park."

Lock/back row Rhys Clarke is set to join Pontypool after eight seasons and almost 150 games with Ebbw while flanker Lloyd Evans will be with Aberavon next season to cut down on the amount of travelling from his home near Bridgend.

However, Ebbw Vale have retained the core of their squad, notably props Ross Jones and Rob Sevenoaks who will embark on a 10th campaign as Steelmen.

The Steelmen finished fifth last season, ending as top Gwent team after staying well clear of the relegation scrap.

Cross Keys, Bedwas, Bargoed and Neath went down while Pontypool failed in their bid for promotion after being beaten by Llanelli in a play-off game.

That leaves Ebbw and Newport as Gwent's only representatives in the revamped 12-team Premiership.

Ebbw Vale retained list: Luke Shore, Steff Thomas, Dan Haymond, Dom Franchi, Paul King, Dai Jones, Sam Ireland, Matthew Flanagan, Dai Langdon, Ross Jones, Rob Sevenoaks, Joel Harries, Morgan Davies, Luke Garrett, Joe Franchi, Rhys Francis, Lance Randall, Kristian Parker, Ashley Sweet, Owen Young, Dawid Rubasniak, Lewis Young, Cameron Regan