A new face at Pontypridd this coming season will be conditioning coach Darren Bool, who takes over the role recently vacated by Mark Powell.
A native of Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley, Darren has been working over the past five years as conditioning coach with Bridgend Youth, the Celtic Warriors Academy and then the Blues Academy respectively. Next season will see Darren teaming up with the Blues under 18s squad and with the Pontypridd senior squad.
Darren was capped as an openside flanker at Schools and under 15 level with Wales, playing for and captaining Ponty Youth in his time. He then played for UWIC, where he studied Sports Science, in both union and league codes.
Having moved on to represent Treorchy, Darren's playing days were brought to a premature end by a recurring back problem.
Employed as a PE teacher in Newbridge Comprehensive School, Darren has also had experience as defence and skills coach with Llantwit Fardre RFC over the past couple of seasons.
The Ponty squad will get to know their new conditioning coach soon enough, with an emphasis on fitness work as pre-season training commences at the end of June.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.