NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are giving a trial to North Walian centre Pat Leach who played for England Counties on their Far East tour this summer.
Leach, who is 23 and from Colwyn Bay, has joined up with the Dragons in nearby Aberysytwyth on their pre-season training camp.
He was with Manchester in England Division One last season and has also played for Orrell and Cheshire. He is a pretty useful cricketer, too, playing at Minor Counties level for Wales and having trials with Warwickshire and Derbyshire.
Dragons head coach Paul Turner said: “Pat is quite a promising player, we are having him on trial and having a look at him.”
Leach, Newport centre Tom Riley and Adam Hughes from the academy lined up with Ashley Smith as the one fit, established Dragons centre in a full blown trial match at Abersytwyth yesterday, as they try to cover for the temporary absence through injury of Matthew Watkins and Rhodri Davies, plus the loss of Rory Sidey and Marc Stcherbina.
“Tom is a good player and Adam, though a lot younger, will come through, while Aled Brew who is big and powerful can play there as well,” said an unworried Turner.
Number eight Joe Bearman, the Argus readers’ Dragons player-of-the-year two years in a row, provided a bonus when he came through unscathed after missing the final few games of last season with a broken bone in his foot.
“That was Joe’s first 80 minutes for a long time and he looked good alongside some of the new signings. Robert Sidoli and Gavin Thomas will bring more stability to the pack with Gavin the George Smith type of player we’ve been lacking since Colin Charvis stopped playing.
“Danny Lee’s workrate was exceptional and the scrum, with new props Ali McKenzie and Ben Castle, looked good, though, of course, it wasn’t like a real game.
“But it was a good exercise and we got a few cobwebs off,” said Turner. “We also had a look at a couple of the new laws with Nigel Owens coming along.
“We also did a PR exercise at Builth Wells and Aberystwyth Town RFC. It’s not our region, but we felt we had a duty to go to these clubs and we presented them with plaques and ties. Charv came along, he’s a household name, of course.”
The Dragons return today and will begin preparations for their friendly against Mike Ruddock’s Worcester at Rodney Parade next Friday night.