BUILDING FROM STRENGTH

By the end of the 2016/17 season, Neath were playing some genuinely exciting rugby with a back division which looked both innovative and threatening.

The good news for Gnoll supporters is that the promising back-line has been further strengthened by some astute signings who will hopefully improve upon some of the clever tries created last year.

As already reported, Richard Smith, Mike Evans and Scott Gibson have joined the Welsh All Blacks to add extra verve behind the scrum.

Full back Ed Howley will be looking to beat his 309 points tally from last year and Alec Jenkins will provide experience in the back three with young James Roberts coming in from Glynneath on the wing.

The centre spots are well cared for with the young centre partnership between Keiran Williams and Matthew Pearce showing real promise while Gavin Evans has signed for a second season.

Dan Guarneri, Iwan Evans and Geraint Llewellyn will be looking to build on their displays in 2016/17 and Neath will be hoping to see more of Wales Under-20’s scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams after his injury-stricken season while evergreen Chris Morgans will be in the mix too,

The door is never closed – some promising youngsters are training too and Neath Team Manager Martyn Morris said, “We made a lot of progress last season both up front and behind where Paul Williams is a widely-respected and innovative coach.

“We created some wonderful tries last year and, with a little more composure, probably should have scored more to really nail down games. That is an area in which we must improve this year.

“We are not yet where we want to be and nothing happens overnight but we feel we have added quality to an already constructive back division. That quality and extra experience should see us improve still further.

”We need to keep moving forward. Time will tell but we are all excited by the prospects for the new season.”