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Matthew Rees back on the sidelines with Ponty

A familiar face on the sidelines during Pontypridd games this season has been Matthew Rees, a former hooker with the club who has now taken up a role as scrum coach with the senior squad.

Tonyrefail product Matthew Rees, known to one and all as ‘Smiler’ during his playing days at Sardis Road, came up through the ranks of the Pontypridd Academy and broke into the senior squad in 2000, going on to make 34 appearances for the club.

His career progressed with the Celtic Warriors, Scarlets and Blues, with 60 Welsh caps and 3 British Lions appearances to his name. Still a key player for the Blues, having turned out in six competitive matches this season, Rees is also finding time to focus on coaching.

Having previously mentored the Blues under 18s, he now helps out with Pontypridd and the Blues Premiership Select as scrum and line-out coach.

A return to Sardis Road has been an easy move for Rees, with so many old colleagues about the place, as he explained.

“I was delighted to take up on the offer from Justin Burnell to come back and coach with Pontypridd. Its the club where I began my senior career, and with Gareth Wyatt and Ceri Sweeney, two former team mates, helping out with the coaching, its been easy to settle back in. I also played with team manager Dan Godfrey during his time with the Scarlets.”

Much has changed since Smiler’s first stint with Ponty, but some things have also stood the test of time.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of youngsters being nurtured by the club” said Rees. “Its work in progress as there is still a long way to develop, but there’s a positive feeling around the club, and Justin has brought back with him a lot of experience, knowledge and discipline.

“The support that the team still attracts to all games, home and away, is as passionate as it ever was.”