Now that the dust has settled on the 2017/18 campaign, Neath RFC bid a sincere thank-you and a fond farewell to some familiar faces who will not be around next season.
Of the forwards, prop Neil White who joined in 2016/17 from Swansea after playing over 200 games for Aberavon has decided to hang up his boots. In his two seasons, Neil made 43 appearances for the Blacks but says, “I will still be around whether it’s giving a hand with the kit or whatever. Rugby is a big part of my life and always will be.”
Hooker Aled Morris is heading for warmer climes as he has accepted a post in Bahrain and will leave during the summer. “Neath means a lot to me,” said Morris who has made 66 appearances for Neath. “There was a tear in my eye when I left the field at Carmarthen on Saturday. Whenever I return there is only one place for me and that is The Gnoll.”
Giant lock Matthew Davies will be taking up a full-time contract with the Scarlets. Having joined Neath from Nantyffyllon, he has the physique to play at the top level and has developed this season with 34 appearances to date. “I love being at Neath,who gave me a chance after the Ospreys lost interest,” he said, “but a chance to play full time is too good an opportunity to turn down. If it doesn’t work out I’d like to come back to Neath.”
Meanwhile Luke Scully, the Neath College outside-half who has been playing on permit from Seven Sisters is heading to Worcester and a full-time Academy contract. It is a tragedy for Welsh rugby that this exciting talent is being allowed to leave the Principality as he has already shown outstanding potential for Neath but all at The Gnoll hope that one day he will return.
Prop forward Geraint James (85 appearances) is joining Aberavon while utility back Geraint Llewellyn (28 appearances) is to pursue opportunities closer to home. Team Manager Martyn Morris said, “On behalf of the club and its supporters, I would like to thank all the departing players who have served Neath well. The past season was a very difficult one for us, it was often a case of ‘all hands on deck’ and these lads answered the call. We wish them every success for the future.
“With injuries afflicting several others who started the season with us, we have room in the squad and have already announced four new signings – Regan King, Luke Garrett, Scott Andrews and Lloyd Evans. Further signings have been completed and will be announced just as soon as their existing contracts expire in line with the Premiership protocol.”