CROSS Keys director of rugby Jonathan Westwood has slammed the Newport Gwent Dragons for allowing home-grown talent like Gerwyn Price to slip through the net.
Hooker Price, who trained with the Dragons last summer, has left Pandy Park to join Glasgow Warriors on a deal until the end of the season.
Although Westwood is delighted that the 27-year-old is getting his big chance, he finds the fact that Price and ex-Keys lock/back- rower Lewis Rawlins didn’t get their big professional break with the Gwent region “heartbreaking”.
Rawlins, 20, joined the Scarlets last summer after impressive displays at Pandy Park and made his regional debut at the end of January in a LV= Cup defeat at Sale.
Westwood stressed he and all at Keys are delighted for Price, but admitted he is saddened it is not the Dragons who signed him.
“In terms of player development, Gerwyn has got what he deserves – he has been a fantastic player for us,” he said.
“Greg Woods (Keys head coach) and myself have been banging the drum about him, that he has the ability to play professionally.
“We are just delighted that he’s got the opportunity – he has been craving this chance.
“He will have to make some personal sacrifices. He has to leave his family for a period and had to walk out on a job.
“I just hope those sacrifices are repaid and that he takes his opportunity.
“It’s a huge opportunity for him. He’s going from a building site to be playing professionally and there’s no question about his ability.”
Westwood added: “Everyone here knows he has the ability but we would all like him to be given his chance at our region because that’s what we feel would have been the perfect scenario.
“But it was not meant to be around here and he just wants to play professionally.
“Gezzie told us that if he doesn’t chance his arm he might regret it forever and he goes with our blessing.
“He’s another potential professional player we have turned out at Keys – it was nice to see Lewis Rawlins playing for the Scarlets the other day.
“I just find it very frustrating they are not playing in the professional environment on our doorstep.
“And the thing that frustrates me most of all is that it is not as if we had an embarrassment of riches.
“I understand that everybody has got their opinions and the opinion was that Lewis wasn’t good enough.
“And we were told that Gerwyn wasn’t offered a contract at the Dragons because of his wrist injury.
“But why they didn’t offer him a week-to-week contract, which I know he would have signed, I don’t know.”
Price’s departure means Keys have gone from having three quality hookers to none, with Garry Horrigan forced to retire through injury last week and Jamie Sollis badly injured in a road accident just before Christmas.