Greg Woods to Leave Keys in January

By David Glastonbury | 21/12/2017

Cross Keys are saddened to announce that head coach Greg Woods has decided to step down from his role at the club to move on to pastures new.

Greg has been at Keys since December 2002, firstly as a player before early retirement saw him move to the role of conditioning coach then on to forwards coach and then on to head coach over the course of the past 15 years. The decision taken by Greg has certainly not been an easy one to make but Greg will leave the Keys with the club wanting to place on record it’s best wishes to him for the future and also express its thanks for all that Greg has delivered in his time at the club.

There have been many great moments over the 15 years, none greater than when Keys enjoyed the finest day in its history when Woods led Keys to Swalec Cup triumph in 2012 with victory over Pontypridd at the Millennium Stadium. That season on the whole was simply incredible for a team quoted by Greg during that campaign as ‘from a village with a set of traffic lights’, with the Keys enjoying a superb campaign in both the Swalec Cup and the British and Irish Cup. With Woods at the helm Keys became the only Welsh side to have ever made the final of the British and Irish Cup following an unforgettable semi-final victory over much fancied English Championship side Cornish Pirates at Pandy Park when Keys were fully worthy of their 20 points to 16 victory over the full timers. That victory over the Pirates, combined with excellent victories over Moseley and at Ayr in the group stages saw Keys go in to unchartered territory when they took on Munster A in their own back yard at Musgrave Park in Cork in the final. Sadly the dream of lifting the British and Irish Cup was ended by the Irish province when they ran out comfortable 31 points to 12 winners.

Greg’s instructions to the Keys players, as they watched the Munster men lifting the trophy and celebrate their victory was simply that Keys, with the Swalec Cup final coming up the week after in Cardiff, had the perfect opportunity to put their hurt behind them at the finest stadia in world rugby, and how Keys responded to Greg’s words will personally live with me forever. That Swalec Cup final on May Day Bank Holiday Monday saw Keys come away with an amazing 32 points to 19 over favourites Pontypridd. Greg, along with fellow coaches Mark Ring, Jonathan Westwood and Alun Harries had promised to deliver something special and together with a special squad of players they certainly did that, that season!

Greg’s career at Keys has been about much more than that 2011/2012 season. There have been some other excellent moments including runners up spots in both the Principality Premiership and National Cup competitions in the 2013/2014 season. Greg playing his part in the development of several players who have gone on to bigger and better things should also be noted. The likes of Taulupe ‘Toby’ Faletau, Lloyd Burns and more recently Leon Brown have all placed the importance of both Cross Keys and Greg’s coaching and influence have played in moving them to the pinnacle of every Welsh rugby player’s career.

Greg will not depart immediately and will stay at the Keys until January with his final game in charge coming in the Welsh National Cup at Pandy Park when Keys host Pontypridd in the 1st round on January 6th 2018.
Whatever the future holds for Greg there is no doubt that what he has achieved at Keys will never be forgotten and there will always be a warm welcome for Woodsy back at Pandy Park!

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