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Baldwin heading home to Brewery Field to take over as head coach

Baldwin heading home to Brewery Field to take over as head coach

Scott Baldwin in his days at the Ospreys

Bridgend Ravens have moved quickly to replace former head coach Tom Smith, who departed the club last month.

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Smith took charge in the summer of 2022, leading the Ravens to an eighth-place finish in his first season and ninth in the 2023/24 campaign. He has been replaced by another former Ospreys, ex-Wales hooker Scott Baldwin.

“We felt the time was right to make a change with the fresh start of the Super Rygbi Cymru tournament ahead of us,” said Bridgend chairman Norman Spain.

“Everyone at Bridgend Ravens would like to thank Tom for his commitment throughout his time in charge. There were some particularly memorable moments from his tenure, including our remarkable home run at the end of 2022/23 and notable away successes such as our first ever win in RGC, first win in Carmarthen in 10 years and a last gasp win at Swansea at the start of last season.

“Scott is a hugely talented and promising young coach and we’re pleased to appoint him. He has already taken some great strides in his early coaching career and we’re really looking forward to watching him develop further at Bridgend Ravens.

“As a local boy who has grown up supporting and then representing Bridgend, Scott is clearly very passionate about the success of the club. He has a deep knowledge of rugby in the area and a good relationship with local clubs, which is particularly important with the commencement of Super Rygbi Cymru, a competition all about developing young, local players.”

The 35-year-old Baldwin won 37 caps or Wales at hooker and won what is now the URC title with the Ospreys in 2012 and the Premiership in England with Harlequins in 2021. He returns to the Brewery Field following a year as forwards coach at Newcastle Falcons.

He combined his final season as a player with the Ospreys in acting as forwards coach at Bridgend. It was also at the Ravens that he launched his semi-professional career before spending more than a decade playing as a full-time pro at Ospreys, Harlequins and Worcester Warriors.

“I’m transitioning to a new career outside of rugby, so when I decided to leave Newcastle, the chance to come back to Bridgend was one I simply couldn’t turn down. I’m really excited by the opportunity I’ve been given,” said Baldwin.

“The club gave me my first opportunity of playing senior rugby and I feel a really deep connection with the club and the fans. Although I am stepping away from the professional game, this is definitely a step forward in my rugby career.

“There’s a really exciting core to the squad already here and the potential of the next generation of players coming through in the borough from our pathway clubs, regional academy, schools and colleges is incredible.

“It’s a really exciting time for the club and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the new Super Rygbi Cymru and everything that comes with it. We’ll be looking to play an exciting brand of rugby but won’t be afraid to be pragmatic in certain areas.

“We know that it’s going to be an incredibly tough league and there are some very strong teams involved but it’s something we’ll relish.”

Baldwin will have three more former Ospreys players in his backroom staff with fellow Welsh internationals Matthew Jones (Backs), Matthew Morgan (Assistant Backs and Skills Coach) and Bradley Davies (Forwards) joining him. Ben Thomas (Player/Assistant Forwards Coach) and Meredith Griffith (Team Manager) complete his assistants.

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