Pontypool RFC is pleased to announce the signing of Mike Hale, as the scrum-half returns to Wales after completing a Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management degree at the University of the West of England.
Hale, 25, arrives at Pontypool Park after an eclectic career to date. Hale played youth rugby for St Joseph's RFC in Cardiff, before going on to play for Cardiff Met RFC, Cardiff RFC and the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select side while a part of the senior academy at Cardiff Blues.
After leaving the regional side, Hale spent time playing for Balmain RFC in Australia, before heading home and signing for Cardiff RFC. For a short while after starting university, Hale combined playing for the WRU Indigo Premiership side with his studies, before electing to leave the Premiership club and instead play for the University.
On returning to Welsh club rugby and joining Pooler, Hale said: "Pontypool is one of the biggest clubs in Wales. Its history still resonates with the younger generation and I'm excited to be joining. I was taught by Tom Hancock in school and I'm looking forward to working with him again. He seems to be cultivating a reputation as an exciting backs coach and I've no doubt I will develop under his tutelage.
"I played in the same Wales age-grade teams as Lloyd Lewis and when you see the impact he has had at the club, it makes you excited to get involved and try to make your own impression on the side. It is a strange time for everyone at the moment but I’m relishing the opportunity to work with everyone at the club when training resumes in September.”
Hale will face fierce competition for the number nine jersey at the club. With Aaron Quick and Owain Leonard already on the books at Pontypool Park, the club now boast an enviable array of options at scrum-half. However, with next season's league campaign set to be tougher than ever before, the ability to rotate and keep players fresh will be vital.
"We are pleased to be the club bringing Mike back to Welsh rugby," said backs coach, Tom Hancock. “His time with the Cardiff Blues gives an indication of his quality and he will add further quality to our scrum-half options. He likes to play at a high-tempo and with the expansive game we are trying to develop at the club, he will fit in perfectly.
"All being well, we can hit the ground running next season and the need for quality options and genuine competition is obvious. After completing his University degree and after his stint in Australia, I think Mike is viewing what comes next as a new chapter and that bodes well for Pontypool."