RUGBY

Jarvis bids farewell to Iron­men

Cynon Valley - - SPORT -

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

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