CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: New Dragons captain perfect man for the job
LEWIS Evans is the perfect fit as Newport Gwent Dragons captain, but hopefully the extra responsibility will mean that one of his deputies has to step forward in his absence.
The back row forward is on the fringes of the Wales squad and was given a taste of the international setup last season when called up to Warren Gatland’s training group.
The decision to give Martyn Williams his 100th cap as a leaving present (and boost the Millennium Stadium crowd for the Barbarians ‘Test’ in the process) meant there wasn’t room in the back row at the end of last season.
But Evans certainly has the ability to make the step up to international rugby and his new role will add another string to his bow. That was very much in the minds of the Dragons coaches when they plumped for the flanker – at 25 they feel he is the perfect age and that this duty will challenge him. This could push him up to another level and mean that he is the next cab off the rank should something happen to Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate or Ryan Jones.
Evans is a great choice as skipper. He is reliable, a safe pair of hands, an influential member of the squad and, crucially, a member of their best XV.
There is something reassuring about a forward being the captain; they are at the coalface and usually within earshot of the referee.
With the breakdown such an important part of the modern game a back row forward is ideal (think McCaw, Warburton, Robshaw and Dusautoir).
Evans won’t be short of helpers with his close pal Ashley Smith taking a leading role in the three-quarters but in truth there weren’t too many alternatives.
The Dragons needed somebody that will be in the side and with them week in, week out.
Evans ticks both those boxes but maybe a season as skipper could lead to him heading off with Wales in the autumn and Six Nations periods, and the Dragons would be delighted with that.