PONTYPOOL, South Wales, 13th June 2019 - Pontypool RFC is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Hancock as the club's new backs coach for the 2019-2020 season.
Hancock replaces the outgoing Matthew Jones, who will take up a similar player-coach role with Neath RFC to the one enjoyed during his time at Pontypool Park.
Hancock spent the 2018-2019 season as the club's head of rugby analysis and will continue to perform his old role alongside his new job. Jones recommended Hancock for role and it represents the realisation of a long-held ambition for the West Walian.
"I knew when I was still playing that I could like to become a coach one day," said Hancock. "I have always been interested in the skills, backs play and general attack elements of the game and I'm excited to have been given this opportunity. I am confident in my ability and hope I've earned the respect of the other coaches and the players from my involvement with the analysis and skills work.
"The play-off game in May wasn't a true reflection of our attacking threat, but we still need to evolve and grow our attacking game," said Hancock. "This season's Championship will undoubtedly be the most competitive yet and if we want to lift a fourth consecutive league title, we will need to make improvements to our game.
"I would like to thank Matthew for his kind words and advice during this process and I wish him well at Neath, a club that I know is close to his heart.”
Hancock's promotion within an otherwise settled management group will ensure minimal disruption as Pooler prepare for their second tilt at promotion back to the Principality Premiership, following the end of ring-fencing last season. Head coach, Leighton Jones, is looking forward to working more closely with Hancock.
"I think Tom will prove himself to be an excellent choice as the club's new backs coach," said Jones. "He has been involved with the club as a player, analyst and now as a coach - I think he will excel.
"He is an articulate and conscientious individual who has the respect of everyone at the club. His analysis work was a real asset to us last season and I'm pleased that he will be combining both roles. As a player, he read the game well and I'm looking forward to seeing him put his mark on our attacking game this season."
Matthew Jones leaves the club after three seasons at Pontypool Park. The fly-half scored over 400 points for the club in 51 appearances and helped coach the side to three successive WRU National Championship titles, as well as a semi-final appearance in the WRU National Cup last season.
"I'm saddened to be leaving Pontypool and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my three years with the club," said Jones. "We achieved so much to be proud of and I feel as if I have made some friends for life. I would like to thank everyone for helping to make my three years at Pontypool Park so enjoyable. I wish the club and everyone associated with it every success for the future.
"I offered my help and advice to Leighton on who I believed would be a suitable replacement as backs coach and it was a straightforward conversation. Tom Hancock has been around the club for a long time and has all of the qualities needed to become a top coach.
"In terms of my move to Neath, I'm looking forward to returning to where it all started. The club has a special place in my heart, but that is also now true of Pontypool. My dad and son always thoroughly enjoyed coming to Pontypool Park with me and are proud to call themselves Pooler fans."
Pontypool RFC would like to place on record its thanks to Matthew Jones for everything he has done for the club since 2016 and we would like to wish him all the very best as he embarks on the next stage of his career with Neath RFC.
Have you purchased your Pontypool RFC season ticket yet? If not, you still have time! Please click here for more information on how to join the #PoolerArmy for the 2019-2020 WRU National Championship season!