PONTYPOOL have fired a signal of intent in their bid to return to the Principality Premiership by securing the return of flanker Rob Nash, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 27-year-old from Panteg is heading back to Wales after a season with Coventry in the English National One.

Nash was lured to the West Midlands after a hugely successful spell with Cross Keys, where he became the first captain to lift silverware in the club's history after leading them to success in the 2012 Swalec Cup final.

The combative openside made 105 appearances for the Pandy Park outfit after signing from Pooler in 2008 and was an influential figure in the club's rise from being strugglers at the bottom of the Principality Premiership to challengers at the head of the table.

Pontypool will hope he can be just as effective for them as they attempt to win the Swalec Championship title.

"It's great to be back at my home town club," said Nash, who played 45 times for Pooler between 2005 and 2008. "Being a Pontypool lad and growing up watching Pontypool, I have always had and will have that connection to the club.

"I always wanted to come back and I'm really happy and excited that I've got the chance.

"There is a strong squad with great players and a real belief of getting back into the Premiership, that being my main reason for coming back.

"Pontypool belong in the top flight semi-professional league and I would love to be a part of the team that gets them back up there once again."

Nash is not one to shy away from a challenge and director of rugby Alun Carter believes that tenacity will be key in what is sure to be a fiercely competitive Championship now that runaway champions Ebbw Vale have returned to the top flight.

"Rob Nash has a winning mentality and is a great acquisition for Pontypool RFC," said Carter. "He is a homegrown player and is itching to make his mark and help us achieve our ambitions.

"Rob has strong leadership qualities that will be important come December and January when we travel to tough venues like Narbeth, Tondu and Merthyr. He is dynamic and plays on the front foot."