Chairman’s Address

Chairman’s Address. 21st May 2023

As another season ends and my term as Chairman of our wonderful club, draws to a close later in the summer, l wanted to use my final address, to put on record my sincere gratitude to a number of individuals, pivotal to our continued success. But first, I wanted to say that it has truly been an honour and a privilege to serve our great club. Thank you for believing in me!
I would like to thank Club Patron Sir Stanley for his steadfast commitment and irreplaceable support to myself as Chairman, but also for everything he has done and continues to do for our club. I talked last year about Sir Stanley’s vision of a modern facility, offering high quality rugby, and life influencing experience through the power of rugby and team. My notes today celebrate everything that is good about our club, Sir Stanley its guardian and guiding light. Thank you, Sir Stanley.
Our Minis, Juniors, Girls and Youth Sections are, put simply, the future of our club, with more than two hundred and fifty young boys and girls, proudly pulling on our colours every weekend. All brilliantly supported by an army of coaches, volunteers and family members. I’d like to thank everyone involved for your commitment throughout the season, without you and your efforts, our club would be a much lesser place. A special thank you goes to the Chair of the Section, James Coccimiglio (Coco), James having invested an extraordinary amount of time in leading all of this out! Thank you, James! There are many highlights to what has been an unbelievable season across our age-group community, so many that I’ll inevitably miss one or two, but here goes…
I have been delighted to observe the creation of three girls’ teams. Thanks to the efforts of Anthony Mee, Geraint Meaker and the wider coaching team, we now have more than seventy girls aged between eleven and sixteen proudly wearing the green and gold. Truly amazing and to all those involved, welcome to our family!
Our fabulous Under 12s, were Cardiff Rugby Region Bowl finalists, with our hugely talented Under 14s retaining their Cardiff Rugby Region Cup title, the first team to ever achieve the feat! Both squads, their families and friends, enjoyed days out at Cardiff Arms Park in April, followed by nights of celebration back at the club. Making memories to last a lifetime, exactly what all of this is about! In addition, our fantastic Under 15s lost only one competitive game during the season, with many of the Under 14s and 15s pivotal in delivering success for Merthyr and Cynon Valley Schools, both making the semifinals of the Morgan Griffiths Plate competition. Well done all!
Our Under 18s or better known as our Young Ironmen, have, under the expert guidance, passion and commitment of Denver, gone from strength to strength, last weekend’s title decider, the icing on the cake! Huge congratulations on winning the Cardiff Rugby Region Division One title #Champions. With less than a handful of boys maturing into adult rugby, and with a bumper crop of hugely talented Under 16s scheduled to bolster the squad in 2023/24, the future looks very bright!
In addition, three Young Ironmen achieved international recognition in 2022/23. Morgan Culverhouse and Owen Brookes winning Boys Clubs of Wales Caps, with Evan Wood winning international honours with Wales Under18s. Watching Evan’ path to success has been a real highlight, from an Under7s #Ironboy to captaining his country at Under18s, truly amazing! How many more Evan Wood’ do we have in our ranks?!
Another crucial jigsaw piece to our continued success, has been the on-field efforts and off field antics of Team Athletic. A brilliant group of men, good for our club in so many ways. I’d like to wish outgoing Head Coach Will Thomas the best of luck in his new role at Cefn Coed RFC. I’d also like to thank Chris Webber, Robert Hadley, Nathan Cork and Matthew Sutton for your continued commitment, your efforts are much appreciated.
Thank you to our Club Officers and Committee. A group of committed individuals with a diverse skillset, all pulling together, generously volunteering their time and expertise to make a positive difference. It really has been a pleasure to work alongside you. Collectively, we have made great strides, delivering many key infrastructure projects, our ambition, always to look after, and eventually, hand on the baton, in a better position than when it was received. I am in no doubt that the future is safe in your hands. Although our AGM isn’t until early July, I’d like to wish my successor well for the future.
Thank you too, to all of our sponsors for your continued support throughout 2022/23. We hope you’ve enjoyed our company as much as we have yours, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in 2023/24.
Unbelievably, this month marks the second anniversary of the opening of our fantastic clubhouse, and what a venue it has become! Our vision of connecting our club and the local community, through a shared facility, a place where everyone is welcome, is clearly visible to all. Central to our success has been Club Stewardess, Carla Hotchkiss and her fabulous team. Thank you for everything you do! Likewise, thank you to Sue Powell and her Cabin team, your efforts on matchday and in feeding our age-group army every Sunday morning, has been nothing less than unbelievable. Thank you!
Our Senior Squad have had another very successful season, finishing third over twenty-two games, and safely securing a playoff berth. #TeamIronmen did us proud, pushing the #Drovers all the way in last weekend’s Indigo Premiership playoff semi-final. It wasn’t to be on the day!
I’d like to thank Rowland, Gaz, Rhys, Craig and the squad for your efforts and for entertaining us week in, week out. Thank you too, to our backroom team. To those leaving the Wern over the summer, good luck for your futures! To those returning to #GoAgain, we look forward to what the new season has in store! I look forward to our presentation night on June 16th, an opportunity to join together in celebration.
In closing, I want to wish everyone involved with our wonderful club, a relaxing and enjoyable summer break. Spend time with loved ones, with family and friends, rack up the brownie points, but also spend time in our company. Our clubhouse will be open throughout, with a number of events planned over the summer. Please watch our website and follow our Facebook page and/or Twitter feed for more information.
A final thanks you to all of you, our #Ironmen Community. Let’s do this all again next season!

#OurRugbyFamily #TeamIronmen


Chairman’s Address 21.01.2023

Unbelievably, we find ourselves three weeks into the new year, with February and the start of the Guinness Six Nations just around the corner. With home fixtures few and far between through December, I’d like to take this belated opportunity to wish everybody involved with our wonderful club, a happy, healthy and prosperous 2023. If you are reading this as a Ravens supporter, my wishes for happy and prosperous, start tomorrow.😊
Like me, I’m sure you will be pleased by our recent on field results. Try bonus point wins at probably the two toughest of places to get results, Colwyn Bay on December 27th and then at Church Bank Llandovery on a Thursday night in mid-January. In between those wins, we hosted league leaders Cardiff RFC, a match influenced heavily by the conditions. The game could have gone either way, the Ironmen leaving with a losing bonus point, the match ending 22-16 in Cardiff’s favour. As we hit the halfway point in the season, leaving that very tough block of three with eleven points, must be viewed very positively. The Ironmen currently sit fifth, chasing Ebbw Vale, Llandovery, Aberavon and Cardiff for a top four playoff berth, whilst watching over our shoulder to challenges from Newport and RGC1404. With an increasing buzz and feeling of camaraderie amongst the squad, some exciting times ahead in the second half of the season!
Away from our Senior squad, I am delighted by the continued progress made by our Athletic, Youth and age-group community. In recent months the constant theme across the community game has been an inability for many Clubs to field sides on a Saturday afternoon, the Welsh Rugby Union introducing rules for 14v14 13v13 12v12 to help combat. Yet and thanks to the efforts of Will Thomas (Head Coach) and his backroom team, Team Athletic have a very strong player pool and currently sit top of their league, not to mention the social value this community offers – just brilliant! Our Club’s future success is dependent on the retention, nurturing and development of local talent, the pathway foundations being established by James (Coco), (Gareth) Denver, Will and their support teams can only bode well. A particular shout out to our very talented Under 14 and Under 15 sides, both unbeaten as we enter the business end of the season. Some fabulous work going on across every age-group, the eagle eyed amongst you seeing our Under 9s down at the Ospreys last Saturday evening at flag bearers. A just brilliant experience for what we hope will be our future. Well done everyone!
Our clubhouse continues to go from strength to strength. December was a very busy month for private bookings, plus three brilliant evenings of live music featuring Helter Skelter, the Big Guy and Noughts and Crosses. Thank you for your continued support – the success of our rugby club, much more than just a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. A big thank you too, to Carla and our Clubhouse team, we are very proud of you. I mentioned earlier that the Six Nations was nearly upon us, Wales kicking off their campaign against Ireland in Cardiff on February 4th. We plan to serve food at halftime for Wales ganes and are in the process of organising live music to compliment at least two of the games. Please watch the Club Website, Twitter, or Facebook for our plans across all five games. I ask that you make plans to join us for one or more of the games, creating a positive international matchday atmosphere. We really do look forward to having you and your friends join us!
On February 11th (Scotland v Wales), we are thrilled to be hosting a touring party from Liceo Naval Rugby, Argentina. Outline plans are for three fixtures to be played back-to-back from 12-noon, before showing the ninety-strong tour party some Welsh valleys hospitality and hopefully celebrating a Wales win in Murrayfield. Please put the date in your diary, it would be great to have a strong crowd to watch all three games, making their day in our company, a memorable one.
Today, and fresh of the back of beating Pontypridd RFC at the Brewery Field last weekend, we welcome friends from Bridgend RFC. We have already played the Ravens twice in 2022/23, once competitively at the end of September, the Ironmen scoring five tries in front of the Thursday night S4C cameras, winning 34-10 and securing a try bonus to boot. The other game was here at the Wern in late August, a very competitive pre-season conditioner, the Ravens winning 26-24. To all involved with the Ravens – welcome, I hope you have an enjoyable day in our company and look forward to meeting many of you in the club after the game. Come on the Ironmen!

Chairman’s Address. 03.09.2022

It is unbelievable to think that a new season is already upon us, the fantastic weather and long days of summer having seemingly flown by. I hope you have all had an enjoyable and restful break and join us with a renewed sense of excitement and hope for what the season has to hold.

I am delighted to enter my second season as Chairman of our wonderful club and continue to be very much honoured to fulfil the role. I would like to put on record my thanks to Club Officers and Committee for your steadfast support and commitment. I would also like to thank our Patron, Sir Stanley Thomas for his continued advice and support, as well as his incredible drive and ambition.

A year ago this week, I outlined our plans for the future, including the reinstatement of Wern-2, and the completion of off-road car parking adjacent to the Fitness Barn. I am delighted to report both projects, alongside renewal of the floodlighting, have made huge strides over the summer. As we wait for the grass field to establish, we plan to add a fine coarse layer of stone to the car park before rolling. In addition to progress with these key projects, you will also note we have replaced the external plastic cladding boards on our Clubhouse, with a more robust paintable concrete board, offering a more durable and aesthetic finish. We have also renewed the digital matchday scoreboard.

I am delighted to announce our next phase of development. We plan to remove the uncovered stand backing onto Wern-2, creating space to install a purpose-built unit, offering shower and changing facilities for two teams, provision of additional matchday toilet facilities and the introduction of a new catering and refreshments outlet. Subject to securing match funding and planning approval, we intend to complete this work later this calendar year. This promises to be a just brilliant addition, supporting playing traffic on Wern-2, as well as allowing us to better support age-group and women’s rugby.

I would like to welcome Rowland Phillips as our new Head Coach, and I am thrilled that Craig ‘Tubs’ Locke once again leads the #Ironmen – a talismanic figure on and off the field, unsurprisingly chosen by his peers as ‘Players Player for the 2021/22 Season – Congratulations Craig! Congratulations too to Chris Phillips winning Player of the Year, and to all other winners from across our Senior, Athletic and Youth squads, celebrated at our Club Presentation Evening in early July, Mike Ruddock OBE attending as Guest Speaker.

Congratulations Gaz and Tank on your appointment to the coaching team, and to long-time friend Craig Dummett, on your appointment as First Team Manager. Welcome too to our Senior Squad, a wonderful combination of established and new, young and more experienced, for what I’m sure will be a very positive campaign!

The reintroduction of our Athletic Squad last year, really did add an important dynamic. A year on and bolstered by a number of last years U18s now playing senior rugby, I look forward to watching how the new season unfolds. There’s still time to join the ranks, and I’m sure Team Athletic Head Coach Will Thomas would love to hear from you!

I am thrilled to report our age-group rugby, delivered by a dedicated team of coaches, volunteers, parents, guardians and grandparents, continues to thrive. The new season kicks off this weekend, with teams from U7s to U18s pulling on the #Ironmen jersey. One of my greatest pleasures over the last year, has been witnessing the way our age-group teams have represented our club – always competitive, always polite – building skills and friendships to last a lifetime! Whilst I acknowledge it’s more about the taking part particularly for our younger age-groups, my proudest moment as Chair came on May 15th, when our then U13s won the Cardiff Rugby Region Cup!

A just unforgettable day out at Cardiff Arms Park! There were many more successes across all age-groups throughout the year too, our U15s reaching the Shield Final and our U18s / Youth very competitive in the Cardiff Region Premiership. Thank you to outgoing Minis & Juniors Chairman Jon Watkins, and good luck and best wishes to James Coccimiglio, recently appointed to the role. The future is safe in your hands!

Off the field, our Clubhouse has quickly developed a very positive reputation, not only on matchday, but also as a ‘venue location’ – somewhere to watch televised sport, to socialise with friends, to party, to celebrate, and to listen to live music. I am delighted with the progress being made by recently appointed Club Stewardess Carla Hotchkiss and her young team. Thank you, Carla!

I would like to acknowledge and thank our many sponsors for your continued and renewed support. Your backing is vital in ensuring we continue to have high aspirations, and I really do look forward to welcoming you and yours to the Wern, during the season. I would also implore supporters and members to help us forge new relationships – our range of available packages offering great value. For more information, please visit our website Today’s match sponsor is my father, John Griffiths. We hope you and your guests have a great day. Today’s match ball sponsor, is Cheg’s Travel – Thank you!

In closing, and as we kick off the new Indigo Group Premiership season, I would like to welcome friends from RGC1404. Last season, the North Walians took the spoils, winning two of our three head-to-heads, games that yielded 167 points! Let’s hope today’s game is another cracker, enjoyed by all. I look forward to meeting friends old and new in the Clubhouse following the game.

Have a great season everyone. #TeamIronmen

Justin Griffiths. Chairman Merthyr RFC



Chairman’s Announcement. 07.05.2022


Chairman’s Announcement 14.04.2022

Welcome Rowland

As Chairman of our wonderful club, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Rowland Phillips as Head Coach from the start of the 2022/23 season. Rowland brings with him a wealth of playing, coaching and leadership experience, experience which matches our continued and future ambition to be competitive in Wales’ top league. Welcome Rowland!

I am equally delighted to announce, that Rowland will be joined by ‘Gazza’ Gareth Davies, appointed as backs coach, and talisman Craig Locke, who will captain our senior side for 2022/23. Whilst the position of forwards coach is still to be confirmed, the appointment of Gazza and Craig, secures two of the best, whilst offering strong continuity from previous seasons. Congratulations both and thank you for your commitment.

I am also thrilled to announce, that Craig Dummett has been appointed as Team Manager for our senior side, supported by Jon Watkins as Assistant Team Manager. Craig and Jon are #Ironmen through and through, bringing a wealth of playing and coaching experience in their own rights, whilst also having the blood of the club running thick through their veins. As we build for a sustainable future, it is crucial we connect our thriving minis, junior and youth sections, supporting the transition into senior rugby. I am confident the experience and skills of both, will help bring the whole playing community together into a single coherent pathway, maximising the potential for local talent to flourish.

In closing, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the huge contributions of Team Manager ‘Dewi’ Huw Williams and Kit Manager John Martin, both of whom are stepping down at the end of this season. Successful rugby clubs are hugely dependant on the many unsung heros, who go quietly about their work in the background – always willing, always volunteering to do more and always present. Dewi and John are two of the best and I thank them wholeheartedly for their service.

Chairman’s Address 12.03.2022

In a week that celebrated International Women’s Day, I wanted to say how delighted I was to see more than 180 young women from Schools across the North of Cardiff Rugby Region attend a #RookieRugby day at the Wern. We were thrilled to host, and even more pleased to see Schools from across the Borough heavily involved. Just wonderful! A big thank you to WRU Rugby Officer Kira Philpott for organising.

I would like to welcome as our guests, Merthyr’s Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Colbran, the Leader of Council, Councillor Lisa Mytton, and Deputy Leader  Councillor Geraint Thomas. I hope you have an enjoyable day in our company, you are most welcome. Today’s bucket collection, will raise funds for the Mayor’s two nominated charities, Wish Upon a Star and #4TOM. It is hard to imagine anything more devastating than the loss of a child. Families receive amazing help from Wish Upon A Star, who offer immediate and ongoing bereavement support for families, individuals and professionals affected by the sudden and traumatic death of a child or young adult aged 25 or younger. In March 2019, aged just 22, Tom took his own life. Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under 45 and often there are no obvious warning signs that someone may be struggling. Tom’s family have set up a charity in his memory #4Tom, to raise awareness around the issues of mental health in young adults and to prevent suicide. For those able to do so, I hope you will give generously!

I also wanted to use today’s note to announce that the current coaching team lead by Dale Mcintosh, have decided to step down at the end of the current playing season. This decision will see the departure of Dale and his coaching team of Gavin Dacey and Robert Sidoli. I wish to put on record my thanks to Dale, Gavin and Sid for their commitment to our Club over recent seasons, a period which has seen us compete and thrive at the top table of Welsh Rugby. Some wonderful and stand out moments, moments that will last long in the memory and form a significant part of our Club’s history. On behalf at everyone at the Club, I would like to wish all three every success for the future, both on and off the field. Club Officials are working hard to put in place a new coaching regime, an exercise to identify the new team having already commenced. We will make further announcements as soon as we are in a position to do so.

On the field, the last couple of weeks have offered some highs and some lows, a near comeback against the Drovers, a try bonus-point win at the Brewery Field, and last weekend’s, one that got away, loss at Pontypridd in the Valleys Derby. I wanted to congratulate our talismanic midfield-man Arron Pinches on reaching one-hundred appearances in an #IronmanJersey. Last weekend’s personal performance was a further example of why Arron is viewed by many as one of the best in the league. #CongratulationsArron With only five fixtures remaining in this strangest of seasons, the boys are working hard to finish the campaign on a high. Today, we welcome friends from Llanelli RFC, for Round-7 of the Indigo Group Premiership. To all involved with the Llanelli, welcome, I hope you have an enjoyable day in our company and look forward to meeting many of you in the club after today’s game.

Come on the Ironmen!

Justin Griffiths

Merthyr RFC. Chairman


Chairman’s Address 19.02.2022

After ten long weeks, I am delighted to welcome Indigo Group Premiership rugby back to the Wern this afternoon. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very belated Happy New Year.

Our return to senior rugby has seen the Ironmen on the road for three weeks, two league fixtures and last weekend’s cup quarter-final at Aberavon. We are one from three in that period, having started with a strong try bonus point win at Swansea RFC, followed by two losses against RGC and Aberavon, the elements featuring heavily in both games. It was a tough tough way to lose the game at Aberavon last weekend, although it must be said, the boys gave everything for the jersey and left nothing on the field! Returning to the game at St Helens, I am delighted to report that Peter Jones, taken ill during the game, is making good progress and is comfortable at home. We are extremely grateful to Swansea’s Medical Team, and in particular Physiotherapist Katie, who responded quickly and supported throughout. On behalf of everyone at the Club, I wish Peter a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him at the Wern again very soon.

It would be amiss of me not to recognise and celebrate the playing career of James Howe, James having decided to finish his egg chasing days above the snow line with friends at Dowlais RFC. James has been a tremendous servant to our club, having joint captained our senior side for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons and pulled on the Ironmen jersey more than 150 times over more than a decade. A local boy, James is also a superb example of how our age group structures can successfully nurture and develop talent for the future. I hope James’ role model example, offers inspiration for young boys and girls across our Minis, Juniors and Youth teams. Good luck James, always an Ironman!

Continuing on a theme, as James’ career draws toward a close, I am excited to see a number of young local men force their way into our senior side, and in doing so start their own senior rugby journey. I am delighted to see young Rhys Davies going from strength to strength with a run at centre, with Arwel Hughes and Joseph Gough transitioning successfully from our youth team, both making senior debuts in recent weeks. Just brilliant to see, well done boys!

I am also delighted to observe how our age group community continues to thrive, our Under 13s and 14s having progressed into the Cardiff Rugby Region Cup quarter-finals, our Under 12s progressing in the Shield competition. My continued gratitude goes to everyone involved week in, week out, delivering wonderful opportunities for our young players – thank you!

I observed a real highlight on the evening of Friday 4th February that I wanted to share. As our senior squad and committee gathered ready to make the journey north to RGC, James Coccimiglio’s Under13 Superstars were hosting Penarth RFC under the lights in front of a good crowd. If you haven’t watched them play, you really should! At the same time, buses packed with our Youth and Athletic squads were leaving for Parc du Pugh and Friday night games against Brecon RFC. Our Club was alive with the buzz of rugby, sporting banter and team camaraderie, it was a very proud moment, and exactly what we’re aspiring for. After a seemingly never ending journey to Llandudno, it was great to hear news of wins for all three sides.

Off the field we held a very successful gentleman’s evening on the eve of the Scotland game, welcoming Scotland’s Craig ‘Chick’ Chalmers as our key speaker. With thanks to Mark Hulbert and Paul Lewis for doing most of the heavy lifting associated with its organisation. As the Six Nations continues and after a good, maybe unexpected win last weekend, I ask that you consider making our Clubhouse your viewing location of choice. The wonderful Melissa and Jake are busy planning for the England game, our offering to include food at halftime. Please watch the Club Website, Twitter, or Facebook for more information. We really do look forward to having you and your friends join us!

Today, we welcome friends from Llandovery RFC, for Round 4 of the Indigo Group Premiership. To all involved with the Drovers – welcome, I hope you have an enjoyable day in our company and look forward to meeting many of you in the club after today’s game.

Come on the Ironmen!


Chairman’s Christmas Address 11.12.2021

As the festive period fast approaches, and with today our last home fixture ahead of the New Year, I want to extend a warm season’s greetings to everybody involved with our wonderful Club.

I am delighted to say our club continues to grow in many ways and is in a stable and healthy position as we move into 2022, both on and off the field. Our new clubhouse is running really well, Melissa and Jake joined our team earlier in the year and are doing a great job! As a result of their efforts, we are getting a real positive reputation for putting on ‘a good do’. If you haven’t joined us yet, I am convinced you will not be disappointed, and with lots planned over the holiday period, there’s no better chance for you to spend time in our company. For more information on ‘what’s planned’, please ask in the Club or follow our social media channels.

On the field, our return to rugby has delivered some ups and downs, but I’m sure you will agree that recent performances against Pontypridd RFC and most recently Cardiff RFC at CAP, has seen the Ironmen hit their straps and start to play a new and exciting brand of rugby. The last three games alone, has seen the Ironmen score twenty tries, many of which would have blessed any rugby field. We finished our cup campaign third in the east division, and look forward to the knockout phase, a trip to face Aberavon RFC at the Talbot Athletic Ground in mid-January. Recent years have produced some ding-dong battles with the Wizards, and I am sure this one will be no different!

I am thrilled our Athletic and Vandals have returned to the field this year. Both offer crucial infrastructure to our future success, an opportunity to nurture and develop a pipeline of young talent, but also as a vibrant community, good for the social and camaraderie side of our club. I am also overjoyed to watch our Minis, Juniors and Youth sections continuing to thrive, this weekend being week-15 of their season, with nine age groups taking to the field most weekends – just brilliant!

Today, we welcome friends from Ebbw Vale RFC, for the first game of the Indigo Group Premier League competition for 2021/22. To all involved with the Steelman – welcome and season’s greetings. I trust you will have an enjoyable day, with everything that rugby has to offer, good competition and great banter, today’s big winner! I am particularly grateful to today’s match day sponsor and long-time supporter of our club, my father John Griffiths. Hot off the press, I am also delighted to advise that earlier this week, we agreed to reintroduce the ‘Man of the Match’ award for home fixtures, the responsibility for selection resting with the match day sponsor – so no pressure Dad!

Today is also our ‘Christmas Jumper and Santa Hat Saturday,’ raising funds for our Minis & Junior Section. The bucket collection and half time showpiece is brought to you by our wonderful Under 7s squad. As you read this, I hope that you are dressed appropriately and have a jingle jangle of loose change in your pockets! With thanks to friends at Garth Bakery for supplying today’s festive sweet treats – please enjoy, to the Colour House for the selfie frames – please get snapped, and to Pantysgallog Primary School Choir, who join us to sing Christmas Carol’s before the game and again at half time – O scrum all ye faithful! Thank you to Mr. Thomas and the team for taking time out of your weekend to attend today. Continuing on a theme, this evening, our First Team Squad and Management host a Christmas Jumper Social, with Cameran Trowbridge on vocals. If you’re interested in stopping on or returning later, please check for ticket availability with our clubhouse team.

A final season’s best wishes from me, goes to Ironmen Number 8 and local boy Phil Rees. Some of you will know that Phil and his to be better half Stacey tie the knot over the holiday period – this being the third attempt, the first two impacted by recent restrictions. On behalf of everyone at the club, I hope you have a wonderful day, and a long and happy future together. Mwynhewch eich diwrnod!

Merry Christmas all, have a restful, enjoyable holiday. With my very best wishes for a peaceful, successful and happiness filled 2022.

Justin Griffiths
Merthyr RFC Chairman


Chairman’s Address. 16.10.2021

It gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone involved with Cardiff RFC to the Wern this afternoon, the first meeting of our two clubs since mid-December 2019. That game played at the Arms Park, with Cardiff running out winners on the day, 20 points to 03.

Recent seasons have produced many tightly contested games between our two sides, let us hope for another today, vehemently competitive on the pitch, and intensely friendly in the clubhouse afterwards. It is great to have rugby back and this really is a terrific competition to ease us back into competitive action, every side capable of beating each other on their day, generating a real intensity of competition, complimented by local rivalry.

I would also like to welcome a number of distinguished guests joining us today. Welcome to the First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS; Dawn Bowden MS, Senedd Constituency Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport; Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr and Rhymney; Vaughan Gething MS for Cardiff South and Minister for Economy; Jo Stevens MP for Cardiff Central; and Toni Antoniazzi MP for Gower.

It is worth highlighting and celebrating that Toni has played international rugby for Wales, winning nine caps over three years in the late nineties. With a three to two constituency split in favour of the Blue and Blacks of Cardiff, I hope that Toni will equal things up, supporting the Ironmen this afternoon. After all we have another Welsh Rugby International with strong Italian heritage in our ranks. On behalf of everyone at the club, I hope you and your group have an enjoyable afternoon in our company – you are most welcome!

On to today’s match then, and while our last couple of results have been disappointing, you can rest assured that our coaching and player community are working hard to find the form of previous seasons. This ambition has been hampered by a significant injury list, impacting key positions and player experience levels. With adversity comes opportunity and this has allowed us to blood a number of new players, the performances of young Olly Rees and Callum Lewis away at Newport, positive evidence of what the future holds. As we look forward, I urge you to get behind the twenty-three pulling on an Ironmen jersey.

Be sure to play your part from the stands and around the ground… and COME ON THE IRONMEN!


Chairman’s Address. 16.09.2021

I have been associated with our wonderful club for most of my life, although this will be my first season as Chairman and I am very much honoured to fulfil the role. I am delighted to signal our return to rugby, after what has been and continues to be desperately difficult and challenging times for our communities and the wider world. The events of the last 18-months, certainly has put what’s important into context. We might have collectively lost the game we all love, but only for a short period.

Merthyr RFC is a fantastic Rugby Football Club, blending the enjoyment and camaraderie of team sport with competitive ambition. Getting the blend right is not always easy and it is testament to my predecessor Paul Lewis and the club’s hardworking committee that Merthyr RFC is a great place to play this wonderful sport, be you 6 or in some circumstances nearing 60 years of age. It is also testament to the continued and firm commitment of our Patron, Sir Stanley Thomas, who’s vision and drive has seen our club make a number of large, legacy leaving strides forward in recent years.

During the pause to rugby, we have continued to make strong progress, our new clubhouse officially opening for business in May 2021. Our magnificent new home is central to the next chapter of our club’s history, a place to gather, to remember, to celebrate, and to enjoy! A beating and vibrant heart, not just for us and our club, but the wider community too. I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to our new Club Stewardess and Steward, Melissa Rebecca and Jake Howard.

In addition to concluding works on the clubhouse, we have renewed floodlighting and made a number of less obvious improvements to the ground and its facilities. I would like to put on record my thanks for the efforts of many committee members, supporters and volunteers for your continued assistance with this work. We continue to plan for the future, our next phase to include the reinstatement of Wern-2, coupled with the completion of off-road car parking adjacent to the Fitness Barn.

This year has seen the reintroduction of our Athletic Team, providing an exciting opportunity to bridge the gap between youth and first fifteen rugby. An opportunity to nurture and develop local talent, the squad mix complemented by some older and more experienced heads.

Our success in years to come will depend upon our young people continuing to flourish and remain in love with the game of rugby and it is our duty as a club to make sure that happens. With a thriving Minis and Juniors section, the future looks bright, again testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of our coaching teams, lead wonderfully by the Minis & Juniors Chairman, Jon Watkins – thank you. I would also like to thank the parents, grandparents and guardians of our minis and juniors playing community. Without your commitment to training nights and Sunday morning games, this would not be possible – thank you too.

I would like to acknowledge our many sponsors for your continued and renewed support. Your commitment in a period that offered little by way of brand exposure or rugby entertainment, clear evidence of your strong commitment to our club. I really do look forward to welcoming you and yours to the Wern over the next couple of weeks and months.

In closing, I look forward to welcoming neighbours Ebbw Vale RFC in a long-awaited return to competitive rugby in the Indigo Group Premiership Cup East. We have strong connections with the Steelmen of Gwent, and have enjoyed a number of excellent and competitive fixtures over recent years. Let’s hope this weekend is yet another keenly contested game, enjoyed by all. I look forward to welcoming friends old and new into our new home, spending time together in a wonderful rugby club atmosphere.

Have a great season everyone.

Justin Griffiths. Chairman Merthyr RFC

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