CHRIS KIRWAN: Brew return puts Byrne arrival in the shade

First published in Sport

PLENTY of top European teams will have been impressed by Newport Gwent Dragons' signing of Lee Byrne but it is his fellow new signing that is really exciting.

Byrne has been a roaring success at Clermont Auvergne and remains one of the top full-backs plying their trade in the northern hemisphere.

I am sure the 33-year-old will be a hit at Rodney Parade – but I expect Aled Brew to put him in the shade after penning a deal to return for a third spell with the Dragons.

The 27-year-old got a deal of a lifetime to head to Biarritz and nobody blamed him for cashing in.

Unfortunately he has failed to make an impact with a side that are struggling to avoid the drop from the Top 14.

Brew hasn't had much ball in hand and certainly hasn't been crossing the whitewash as frequently as he did in the colours of the Dragons.

But he will be the region's number one weapon with ball in hand next season (perhaps even having the odd outing at 13 again?) and will thrive by renewing the successful partnership with fly-half Jason Tovey, whose clever kicks were the source of countless tries down the left wing.

Brew has played for the Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Biarritz but nobody has got as much out of him as the Dragons and his return will also benefit Wales.

He might not have headed to the south of France had Warren Gatland not frozen him out after the World Cup, a decision that the New Zealander must have regretted when the back three was ravaged by injuries last autumn.

Usurping George North and Alex Cuthbert is no easy task but if Brew maintains his impressive Dragons strike rate (43 tries in 108 games) then he can make sure he is next cab on the rank.

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