Cardiff RFC have appointed former Cardiff Blues, Wasps and Dragons hooker T Rhys Thomas as their new forwards coach as Neil Edwards steps down from the role.
42-year-old Edwards, who played for the likes of Neath, Ebbw Vale and Pontypridd as well as receiving Wales A honours, joined the Blue and Blacks to look after the forwards when Steve Law was appointed head coach at the start of last season.
He departs due to personal commitments after earning a promotion in his day job, and will be replaced by T Rhys Thomas who made six Blue and Black appearances between 2002 and 2005, while playing 182 times for Cardiff Blues until departing for Wasps in 2012.
A further move to Dragons saw him end his playing career at Rodney Parade, and after a year coaching the academy there, Thomas returned to the Arms Park this summer as forwards coach of Cardiff Blues A in the Celtic Cup.
He will combine his Cardiff Blues Academy role with this new position at Cardiff RFC, with Blue and Blacks head coach Steve Law saying, “I worked with him during the recent A games and was very impressed with what I saw. The experience that he can pass on to the squad will be invaluable and I look forward to working with him some more over the rest of the season.”
Joining him in the Academy will be another former player, as Nick MacLeod returns to the setup at the Arms Park as a part-time kicking coach for the young players coming through.
After coming through the Cardiff RFC youth system MacLeod played 82 times for Cardiff Blues, scoring 240 points, before spending eight years with Sale Sharks where he amassed over 400 points in the English Premiership. He ended his career with a year at the Dragons.
Since retiring he has been working full-time on his bakery business, but is now returning to the rugby world and told the club’s official website, “It’s fantastic to be able to link up with Gruff, Richie and TRT. They’re people who I’ve worked with a lot over the years, and that was a big attraction for me. I’m coming back to work with my home region, where I spent a big chunk of my playing days, so it’s very exciting.
“The opportunity to work with the younger guys at the region and pass my experience on to them is very exciting. There is a real potential amongst the ranks here. On a personal level, the balance of this role is fantastic. I’ve got my own business interests, but have also been extremely keen to stay in rugby in a coaching capacity.”