Burnell vision

Justin Burnell during training. © Huw Evans Picture Agency

Homecoming Burnell focused on Ponty success
Newly appointed Pontypridd Head Coach Justin Burnell is delighted to be returning to the club which shaped so much of his rugby career.
The Llantwit Fardre product represented Ponty as a player, then returned to lay the foundations of a successful club academy, before taking on the role of senior coach at Sardis Road in 2003.
His coaching career then took in stints with Cardiff, the Blues, Wales under 19s and most recently over the border in the English league structure with London Welsh and Rotherham Titans.
A return to Pontypridd for the commencement of the 2017-2018 Premiership campaign sees Burnell’s coaching career turn full circle, with a homecoming which he is happy to make.
“I had four good years in England” explained Burnell “but the travelling week in week out was excessive, and a move closer home was needed for me to focus on my family.
“When the offer came, there could be no better option than a return to Pontypridd RFC, which has been a big part of my life, and I’m extremely grateful to the club for making that possible.”
Burnell now takes up the reigns at his former club with a wealth of coaching and administrative experience behind him.
“It’s time for me to change focus, but I have lost none of my appetite for the game, or for a new challenge” he said. “More than anything I still have a desire to be successful, and a return to Pontypridd gives me that opportunity.”
During a summer of preparations for the new season, one of Burnell’s priorities will be to liaise with local clubs and unearth fresh young talent to bolster the Ponty squad.
“We have some very good experienced players in Dafydd Lockyer, Rhys Shellard, Chris Dicomidis and the likes, but we need to maintain a balance with the younger generation coming through. The club has been through a period of transition, but that needs to be a positive process, maintaining our traditionally strong links with neighbouring clubs and nurturing new players to make the grade.
“I have already been hard at work with new Team Manager Dan Godfrey, and with coaches Gareth Wyatt and Darren Bool, setting out the blueprint for the club’s structure and development.”
Stepping back on to familiar ground, Justin Burnell does so with a focus on change and on the future success of Pontypridd RFC.


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