Former Wales outside-half Arwel Thomas has been named as captain of Neath for 2009/10 and will lead the Welsh All Blacks into action in their opening Principality Premiership tie at Bedwas on Saturday.
The Trebanos-born pivot only recently confirmed his intention to carry on playing after hinting at retirement following Neath's Cup Final win over Llanelli last May but Neath's Director of Rugby Patrick Horgan and his coaching team have wasted no time in handing Arwel the reins of leadership.
Horgan said, "Arwel has all the necessary attributes to fulfil the role. There are not many more experienced operators in the Premiership and, as the last two Cup Finals have shown, Arwel can run and control a game like no other.
"We have leaders throughout the Neath team with senior hands like Kevin Farrell, Martin Jones and Gareth Gravell there too and they are primed to play a key role as well as we seek to build our on-field leadership.
"Arwel is greatly enthused by the prospect of leading Neath. He is an outstanding rugby talent with a deep understanding and knowledge of the Game. While he hasn't captained too many sides, he has played under some excellent leaders in his long and successful career and will bring that experience to bear.
"There has been a real buzz in the air about training and Arwel is relishing the challenge of bringing Neath continued success. Having joined Neath as a youth in 1993, he knows exactly what makes Neath tick and is a huge favourite with our supporters."
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SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
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