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Ponty start recruitment drive as they say farewell to Rhys Shellard

Ponty start recruitment drive as they say farewell to Rhys Shellard

Jordan Howells in action for Ebbw Vale

Justin Burnell has been plucking talent from the Admiral Championship and beyond to bolster his Pontypridd squad for the new season.

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Ponty finished seventh overall in the Indigo Group Premiership last season and reached the quarter-finals of the Premiership Cup. Since the end of the season they have said ‘goodbye’ to Morgan Richards, Bradley Roderick, Dafydd Buckland, Jack Pope and Llywarch ap Myrddin and have seen Rhys Shellard finally retire.

Bedwas half-backs, Rory Harries and Matt Bancroft have joined from the Championship outfit, while Jordan Howells has joined from title winners Bargoed. Pencoed wing Sam Hayman steps up from Division 2 West Central and former England U18 centre Tommy Morgan joins from Bridgend.

The 26-year-old Morgan is a former Cardiff Met student who was named in the BUCS Super Rugby team of the season in 2019. Teenage talent Hayman top scored with 14 for Pencoed last season.

Scrum half Harries spent time at Premiership champions Cardiff RFC last season and actually played for them against Pontypridd in the Premiership Cup. Having played for Cardiff Blues at U16 and U18 Age Grade level, he earned representative honours with Wales Students and also played for North Otago in New Zealand.

The other Bedwas recruit, the versatile 24-year-old outside-half Bancroft, has prior experience of playing in the Premiership during a three-year stint at Bargoed. Experienced centre, Howells, now 27, joins from Bargoed and has previous Premiership experience with Ebbw Vale, where he helped the Steelmen win the title in 2016.

He helped the Bulls reach the Championship Cup final at Principality Stadium last season and secure the league title. He won international honours for Wales in rugby league at U16, 18 and A team levels.

The retirement of back row star Shellard means a temporary halt to his family dynasty at Sardis Road. He ended with 264 appearances, one less than his father Mike.

His Uncle David also played 97 times for the club, bringing the family tally up to 626 games. Between the three of them they scored 108 tries.

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