South Wales Scorpions appoint new head coach

Former South Wales Scorpions player and Wales international Phil Carleton has been appointed as the new head coach of the Scorpions.

The 31-year old has spent the last year as head coach of Welsh Conference side Cardiff City RL, leading them to within seconds of a Grand Final place.

Originally from Consett in the North East of England, Carleton moved to Wales in the early part of the last decade and attended UWIC university in Cardiff for whom he started playing League for. In that, his first spell in South Wales, he turned out then Welsh Conference sides Cardiff Demons, Rumney Rhinos and Aberavon Fighting Irish and played for Wales Students in the 2005 World Cup in Australia in addition to Great Britain Students.

Temporarily returning to the North East of England, he played for fellow Championship 1 side Gateshead Thunder and was also player-coach of Sunderland RUFC for a short time.

He then came back to South Wales and signed for Valley Cougars before graduating up to the Scorpions where he made 34 appearances, 17 of them as captain. He won his lone full cap for Wales in 2014.

Carleton is delighted to be taking on the role but he has paid respect to outgoing coach Mike Grady.

“It’s an exciting time and has been a whirlwind of a week,” he said. “I am obviously very honoured and feel it is a great privilege to be considered for such a role. My thanks go to Marc and Neil for the opportunity.

“It was hard to leave Cardiff City RL as they have been very good to me but the role of head coach at a semi-professional club was too good to turn down.

“For me though, the circumstances in which I took over the position weren’t as ideal as I would have liked. I’ve replaced a man that I consider a friend and someone who in the past two years has had to endure a lot, though no fault of his own, often going without many things that most coaches take for granted in this league.

“Mike has helped me on and off the field and I owe him a lot. I wish him all the best and thank him and his family for all their commitment, effort and loyalty they have shown to the club. Ellis (Mike’s boy) will I’m sure follow his dad and adopt a new team to support but fingers crossed he will always have a soft spot for the Scorpions.

“A great deal of work sits ahead of us now. There are many roles to appoint and an ethos and culture to build, all in a short period of time. I am relishing the challenge and am excited to get started. I have seen just about all the eras of the Scorpions and hope I can take the best from all, learn from the mistakes and add a twist of my own.

“I can reassure all around us that while financially we are in a better place, our aim is to build a stable foundation from the bottom and get the things tight that don’t take money, before we open the cheque book.”

Scorpions’ director Marc Lovering said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of Phil Carleton as the Scorpions’ new head coach. Phil was always our first choice and we are delighted to have him on board so quickly.

“Phil’s local knowledge coupled with his undoubted technical ability meant he was always the front runner for the role. He is very highly regarded throughout the game in South Wales and will play a big part in moving the club forward.

“I know he is working hard to assemble a squad that will be balanced and more competitive. Details of changes to the playing squad and backroom staff will be announced once confirmed.”