New Ironmen arrive in Wales

South Wales Ironmen have announced several signings, as they rebrand from being the Scorpions, and move to a new home at Merthyr RFC.

The club have appointed former rugby union star Lee Byrne as director of rugby, and he is hoping to have a big impact.

“It’s great to have this opportunity to continue my rugby career as part of a brand new project developing rugby league in South Wales,” said the former Wales RU international and British Lion.

“It’s where I started my amateur rugby career – as did a lot of of Welsh rugby greats – and I believe this will be a fantastic way to get youngsters engaged in the sport and fans enthused to watch it.

“As director of rugby it’s fantastic to be able to help develop this new team as it makes the move to state-of-the-art facilities at the Wern in Merthyr.

“The South Wales Ironmen have a huge opportunity to make an impact. The ultimate goal is to be promoted to Super League.

“But let’s remember even this season we are playing in an international league with the likes of Canada’s Toronto Wolfpack which is exciting for rugby fans right across Wales.”

Ironmen director Marc Lovering is delighted that someone of Byrne’s stature will be with the club.

“To have someone of Lee’s calibre believe in what we are trying to build and to want to get involved, is a huge boost for everyone involved with the club and for rugby league in South Wales,” he said.

“Lee would not have got involved unless he believed in our aspirations and ambitions. He is an intelligent guy with a great deal of experience in elite level sport. We are all looking forward to working with him.

“Lee’s director of rugby role will have a wide ranging remit and we will certainly be looking to tap into his knowledge and experience at every opportunity. He has played sport at the highest levels and has a great deal of knowledge around nutrition and strength and conditioning. 

“He will be co-ordinating how we approach these things across not only our first Team but also our under 20s side and our Category 3 Academy side based at Coleg y Cymoedd.

“He obviously doesn’t have a great deal of technical knowledge when it comes to rugby league, but he does have a wealth of experience that our coach Phil Carleton will be able to tap in to.

“Lee will also be overseeing our work in local schools and colleges working with Dafydd Hellard and Paul Emanuelli. It’s a varied role and I know he is looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Several new signings have also been confirmed by the club, including New Zealand-born, Samoan under-20 international Bailey Lui.

Scorpions coach Phil Carleton is delighted to have added the utility back to the ranks at the club.

“Bayley is a talent who already has a fair bit of experience behind him. He’s good under the high ball and is a strong lad,” he said.

“We are looking forward to starting to work with him. Bayley is the type of player who will excite our supporters and I’m sure they will make him feel welcome.”

Also arriving at the club are Australian-born Welsh international Andrew Gay, as well as Lewis Reece, with both agreeing terms for 2017.

Carleton is very pleased that Gay, whose father is from Cardiff, is returning to Wales.

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“Andy is a player of real class,” he said.

“Having played alongside him before, I know what he can do and I look forward to seeing him in a South Wales shirt again soon.

“He has real ability, the stuff you can’t teach, like electric footwork and the knack of getting through a gap that simply doesn’t exist in anyone else’s mind.

“I’m sure his time back in Australia will have seen him mature and improve further as a pivot and everyone at the club is very excited to play alongside him again.

“The last time he was over here he was very unlucky not to get a go in the Four Nations games, being 18th man on two occasions.

“This time around I’m sure John Kear will be keeping a very close eye on him. If Andy delivers (and I provide him the opportunity) I have no doubt we’ll see him get another full cap.”

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