It is with immense delight that Pontypool RFC today announces that the club will return to full team training on 2nd September 2021.
The decision to bring forward the club’s original return date of October 2021 was taken to give Pooler’s staff, squad and volunteers more time to prepare for the forthcoming league programme that is yet to be announced by the Welsh Rugby Union.
Pontypool RFC will initially train at other local venues throughout September, before returning to Pontypool Park and the newly de-developed ‘The Ray Prosser Stand’ in October, when extensive pitch renovation works are set to be completed.
It has been eighteen long months of on-field inactivity for Pontypool RFC and the club has not played a minute of rugby since the 0-45 victory over Pontypool United RFC in the Ben Francis Cup quarter-final, held at the Memorial Ground on 22nd February 2020.
When Pooler last took to the field, the club sat top of the WRU Specsavers National Championship table and the prospect of finally earning promotion back to the WRU Indigo Premiership division looked to be firmly on the cards.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold, the Welsh Rugby Union formally cancelled the 2019-2020 season on March 20th 2020. It was a decision Pontypool RFC fully supported and in the many months that followed, the club continued to demonstrate a responsible approach to navigating through the pandemic. Quite simply, at that time – rugby was not the priority.
It has been a dreadful time for so many and everybody at Pontypool RFC again wishes to extend our deepest condolences to all those who have been lost and impacted by COVID-19 over the last eighteen months. We also extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who has worked so hard and selflessly to keep us safe during these difficult times.
But as the world slowly begins to grow in confidence and with restrictions substantially easing in Wales, we feel the time is now right for Pontypool RFC to get back to business.
Over the coming days and weeks, Pontypool RFC will make a series of announcements that will demonstrate just how much work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure the club is best placed to hit the ground running when competitive rugby eventually returns.
Alongside this, the club is actively finalising plans to compete in a series of pre-season friendly fixtures, with the intention of holding these matches in November. Further details regarding fixtures will follow in due course.
It is great to be back and we look forward to continuing this journey with you – the Pooler Army. We thank you for the incredible patience and unwavering support you have offered us throughout this truly precedented situation and we hope to make you proud with what is yet to come.
We go again!
Comment from Pontypool RFC chief executive officer, Ben Jeffreys:
“This is a hugely important moment for everybody connected to Pontypool RFC and after over eighteen months apart, it is tremendous to know that the prospect of everyone at the club coming together again in rugby is on the horizon.
“Throughout the pandemic, we made the conscious decision to fully support the shutdown of rugby at time when so many people were losing their lives and our thoughts remain with all those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“Our supporters have been truly exceptional in giving us the time and space to navigate the club through a truly unprecedented situation and we are incredibly grateful to the Pooler Army for their unwavering commitment and support during what has been a significant period of inactivity.
“In the coming weeks, we will begin the process of cautiously and safely returning our staff and squad to training and we felt this would be better achieved by coming back slightly earlier than planned. We are also focused on preparing for a full pre-season friendly schedule during the latter part of 2021, ahead of what will be a pivotal league campaign.
“We are clear in what we want to achieve over the coming twelve months and we are looking forward to getting back to business in the hope of repaying our supporters for their incredible commitment to the club.”