Rea­sons to be cheer­ful for high-fly­ing Aber­dare Lo­cal rugby

South Wales Echo - - GRASS ROOTS RUGBY -

ABER­DARE have had plenty of rea­sons to be cheer­ful in the last few years and it’s all down to a strong iden­tity.

In the last three sea­sons, the club have earned two pro­mo­tions and a league ti­tle as well as en­joy­ing a com­fort­able midtable fin­ish in Two East Cen­tral last sea­son.

But not a club to stand still, the Snakes have slith­ered their way up the ta­ble and took top spot with their 19-13 vic­tory over St Peter’s at the week­end.

And rugby co-or­di­na­tor Dar­ryl Wil­liams be­lieves Aber­dare are ex­actly where they want to be as they seek an­other pro­mo­tion up to Di­vi­sion One.

“We’re pretty con­sis­tent the mo­ment,” said Wil­liams.

“It’s progress on what we were try­ing to build on last year.

“This year we’d like to go up the di­vi­sion and see where we are be­cause the two clubs that went up last year we had really good games against and they are hold­ing their own.

“We’d like to test our­selves against the other sides that are up there.

“You’ve got to have a lit­tle bit of am­bi­tion.”

Matthew Raf­ferty and Ben Bowen grabbed the tries at the week­end while full-back Jor­dan Coles smashed over the rest. And Wil­liams was full of praise for kicker Coles.

“Coles con­verted from foot­ball about a year or two ago,” said Wil­liams.

“He’s one of the older play­ers and has be­come our goal kicker.

“That’s made a huge dif­fer­ence to us as we now have some­one who is re­li­able.

“He’s also a very in­tel­li­gent run­ner, great on the counter at­tack. He just sees things oth­ers don’t.”

Wil­liams be­lieves that tar­get­ing a third pro­mo­tion in four years is re­al­is­tic be­cause of the youth pol­icy at the club and vi­brant brand of rugby that Aber­dare are gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for.

“We de­cided to put the em­pha­sis on bring­ing our younger play­ers through,” he ex­plained.

“They have all come through our mini and ju­nior sec­tion. at

“We’ve got two youth teams run­ning and we’re not re­ly­ing on other clubs to bring play­ers for­ward.

“We had a coaches’ meet­ing a num­ber of years ago over the style of rugby we wanted to play.

“The youth play a very sim­i­lar pat­tern to what we do and we’re ask­ing the mini and ju­niors to be­come as skil­ful as they can and not worry about win­ning.

“At youth level we want them to be com­pet­i­tive but if they come up into the se­niors we want them to be com­fort­able with the style of rugby that we aim to play.

“It’s quite fre­netic, high risk and open. Fit­ness is a big thing.

“If you look at our bonus points, I think there’s only one game, which was Sat­ur­day, where we haven’t taken any bonus points.

“Even when we’ve lost we’ve come away with a bonus point.

“We have a good fol­low­ing home and away.

“Over the last three or four years our sup­port has in­creased be­cause they know, win or lose, they will be en­joy­able games.”

Their rise up the leagues has co­in­cided with their switch to a more “en­ter­tain­ing” style of rugby and the Snakes’ first test as league lead­ers is a top-oftable clash with sec­ond-placed Llan­ishen.

“We’ve had some really good games with Llan­ishen over the years,” added Wil­liams.

“They play a sim­i­lar brand be­cause Ben Rose is in charge there and he’s in­volved with the WRU.

“They’ve got a very good style about them and they’ve got a young side too.”

Vic­tory over Llan­ishen would see the Snakes pull clear at the top ahead of the two-week break for the Au­tumn In­ter­na­tion­als, which would put them in a strong po­si­tion to achieve their pro­mo­tion tar­get.

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