Jarvis bids farewell to Ironmen
LEE JARVIS has delivered an emotional farewell on leaving his role as coach at Premiership champions Merthyr,
The former Welsh international fly-half is moving on after more than four years with the Ironmen, during which time he has overseen a stellar rise in their fortunes.
Jarvis says he feels he has taken the club as far as he can and wants a break from rugby.
His departure comes four months after the appointment of Nigel Davies as club chief executive.
Davies’ arrival coincided with a re-jig of the management team, with Dale “The Chief” McIntosh taking over as head coach from Jarvis, who became backs coach.
Now just a week or so into the new season, Jarvis has parted company with the club.
He bid farewell via a statement in the match programme for Saturday’s clash with Bedwas at the Wern Sports Park, which ended in a 37-24 defeat for the hosts.
“I always knew the day would come where I would have to write my final goodbye to a special club,” he said.
“I find myself writing this with a teary eye and a lump in my throat.
“The last four and a half years coaching Merthyr RFC has been the most enjoyable experience of my coaching career.
“The people I have met and friends I have made will last a lifetime.”
When Jarvis came on board in March 2013, Merthyr were bottom of Division 1 East.
After helping them avoid relegation, he guided them to promotion as table toppers the next season, while also winning the Swalec Plate.
Promotion from the Championship followed as league winners in 2016 and last season they lifted the Premiership trophy at the first attempt, beating Aberavon in the play-off final.
“I always remember starting off and having just six players turn up for training,” he recalled.
“Those days were hard and testing.
“Despite that, we had four games to win to stay in Division One and we eventually made it and survived with a win in the last game of the season against Ystrad Rhondda to stay in the league. And, as they say, the rest is history.
“My four year vision for the club was to get Merthyr to Premier status and when I delivered that presentation to the players at the time I could almost see them questioning my sanity.
“The club has come so far in the last four years, it’s a testament to those involved.
“I would like to thank the players that were there from the start and believed in the vision and played their hearts out for the club.
“I would also like to mention the early coaching staff that was part of the club’s success, Gary Horrigan and Jamie Ringer.
“Those boys were a necessity and the work they put in laid the foundations for the club’s future success.
“The committee at Merthyr are something special. From day one, they have always supported myself and the coaches on and off the field. These gentlemen are the heart and soul of the club.
“If every club in Wales had a committee and officials like this they would be honoured.
“I would like to give a massive thank you to them from myself and my wife for looking after me and the players so well.”
Jarvis also made a point of paying tribute to Merthyr’s multi-millionaire backer Sir Stan Thomas, who has put in a significant amount of money over the years.
“The club would not be in such a good place without the support of our Patron Sir Stan Thomas,” he said.
“Not only is his loyal support and investment in Merthyr RFC outstanding, but also his passion for the town of Merthyr Tydfil to be recognized and accepted as an upcoming and vibrant town.”
Jarvis concluded: “The memories I have made will always be close to my heart.
“Games like Ystrad Rhondda away, winning the three titles and also our massive day at the Millennium Stadium winning the plate.
“Also our nights out celebrating with loved one dancing the night away at our club.
“I would like to wish my best friend Chief all the success moving forward in winning back-toback titles this year.
“You have the squad and the ability to make something special.
“I have left the club in good hands and I am very happy knowing I have achieved what I set out to do for Merthyr. Thank you to everyone who believed in me.”
Asked to explain his reasons for leaving, Jarvis today said: “I feel I’ve taken them as far as I can and I want a break from rugby.”
Lee Jarvis being presented with the Swalec Championship trophy by Merthyr RFC backer Sir Stan Thomas at Newbridge in 2016