Last season was one to remember for Glyncoch as they secured a league and cup double.
The Rhondda club added the SWALEC Bowl to their Division Six Central title as they went unbeaten throughout the season. But the importance of rugby in the area goes further than just the changing rooms with the sport playing an absolutely vital role in the community.
The 2011/12 season saw Glyncoch win all 22 of their league games, easily claiming the Six Central crown and racking up 106 points in the process. The team ran in a total of 135 tries and conceded just 21 as they ended up a massive 24 points clear of second placed Caerau Ely.
Add in a thrilling cup final victory at the Millennium Stadium and it's easy to see why Glyncoch are a club on the up. Trailing 14-0 to New Tredegar in last season's final, full-back Shaun Baggs masterminded a comeback to seal a 16-14 win as the club took home the SWALEC Bowl.
But with a past reputation for anti-social problems in the area, the rugby club is playing a key role in keeping locals off the street and getting them involved in the game.
"It's a tough council estate and there's not a lot going on so the club plays a huge role in providing an outlet for the boys on the estate," said Mark Rowlands, Glyncoch's head coach.
"The club has kept all the boys off the streets and it's vital in the area," added team manager and club chairman Dai Jones. "We try and do as much as we can for the boys and they come down at weekends to watch the matches and get involved in the club."
And this youth policy seems to be working with nine of the side who played in last season's Bowl final having come through the youth set up over the last three or four years.
The club's success has helped to improve the lives of those in the area with Glyncoch running a zero tolerance drugs policy on those who play for the club.
"We had a bad reputation in the past for fighting but we're looking to improve that now and go up the leagues."
And that is exactly what Glyncoch will be doing if last year is anything to go by with The Gladiators confident of success in Division Five.
"Our pre-season has been really good and the boys are up for the challenge so we should be there or thereabouts come the end of the season," said Rowlands.
"A cup run would be nice but we are focusing on the league. Only one player has left and we've got four or five new signings so we're looking strong," added Jones.
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Christmas has come early at Glynneath rugby club, one of a number around Wales who have received an array of merchandise and equipment this December courtesy of the Welsh Rugby Union's £750,000 participation points scheme.
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