NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have reiterated that Toby Faletau is not for sale, stating that retaining the Wales number eight is vital to their recruitment plans.

The 22-year-old was linked to a move across the border last month to Bath, said to be prepared to offer a six-figure transfer fee to buy him out of the last year of his contract.

Chairman Martyn Hazell was quick to state that any bid would receive short shrift, saying: “Toby is an important player for us and we want to build a team around him.”

It would be understandable if the Dragons were tempted by an offer given that he is backed up by Wales Under-20s prospect Ieuan Jones, who continues to impress, and Tom Brown, who was having a super campaign before injuring his ankle.

Added to that is the likelihood of Faletau heading to Australia with the Lions, a tour that would lead to him missing the start of next season as well as spells with Wales during the autumn and Six Nations.

But Dragons head coach Darren Edwards believes it would be a major hindrance to building a squad for next term if they were to cash in.

Edwards said: “We have got good back row forwards coming through but we have got to recruit and show people that there is ambition here, so I need him here.”

It is a stance backed by Dragons chief executive Chris Brown: “The chairman went on record in terms of us wanting to keep Toby Faletau and stating that we won’t be selling Toby Faletau.

“He is key to our team and key to our brand so the work starts towards trying to extend his contract.

“It’s a case of putting together the package and the opportunity, we are working hard to build something that people really want to be part of.”