Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Horgan leaves post at Neath

Swalec Cup finalists Neath have announced that head coach Patrick Horgan has stepped down from his role with immediate effect after five years in charge.

The club statement said he was ending his 17-year association with the club “to concentrate on his business and career pursuits”.

The former Neath captain was at the helm for the league and Cup successes of recent years, and he is widely recognised as one of the leading and most astute coaches on the Premiership scene.

Speaking after Neath’s 34-13 Cup final defeat to Pontypridd at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on May 4, he had seemed intent on helping his side get back above the Valley Commandos in the Welsh rugby pecking order.

He said at the time: “When it comes down to it, Pontypridd are a better team than us at the moment. They’ve overtaken us and it’s up to everybody at Neath Rugby Club, not just coaches, not just the players, but people at board level [to] push [us] forward now.

“Let’s get back, not to where Ponty are now, but let’s get back on top of Ponty because that’s where we were [a few] years ago.”

It seems things have changed, and now the club must take a new direction without their talismanic coach.

Former Neath chairman Geraint Hawkes has paid tribute to the man he worked with for over a decade. He said: “During my direct involvement for over 10 years, Pat has been a major driving force both as a player, assistant coach and recently head coach. It has very much been a backs against the wall philosophy for both of us.

“He has been at the heart of keeping everything on an even keel. His core values, true grit determination and exceptional coaching qualities are admired from all quarters.

“Together we had some extremely challenging times, but Pat has remained steadfast and helped bring the side through to the Cup final this year. He is Neath through and through, and I have fond memories of some truly epic rugby moments.

“His relationship with the club spans over 17 years, and probably gives him more right to the place than anyone else. Everyone associated with Neath RFC would like to wish Pat all the best with his future endeavours.”

The club also posted on its Twitter feed: "A big thank you to Pat Horgan for all his efforts over the years with Neath RFC from all Neath fans [far and] wide, [especially] from the Cow Shed!"

The statement also indicated that an announcement on Horgan’s replacement and the make-up of the back-room team will be made shortly.


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