NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have signed dual junior international number eight Hugo Ellis from Wasps, which will strengthen their back row even further for next season.
Ellis, whose Welsh father played for Neath, was capped by Wales at under-16 level but went on to play for England Under-19s and then captained England Under-20s.
Born in Isleworth and a pupil at St Benedict’s School, Ealing, he joined Wasps Academy in 2006 and though still at school established himself in the Wasps A team, making eight appearances out of a possible 15.
Though initially capped by Wales, he switched allegiance and played for England Under-19s in the Six Nations game against Italy and then became a member of the England Under-19s team in the world championships in Dubai, helping them finish third in the tournament.
He went on to captain England Under-20s, leading them to victory against Wales in the 2008 Six Nations opener.
He made eight appearances for the senior Wasps team, but has been unable to establish himself and now moves to the land of his father, who played full back for Neath as well as Wales Schools and gained an Oxford Blue.
The signing is in keeping with the Dragons’ policy of giving Welsh qualified talent an opportunity and Ellis will compete for a place in a particularly strong area which includes Dan Lydiate, Joe Bearman, Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau and Gavin Thomas, to be joined by academy prospects James Thomas and Rhys Jenkins.
Ellis is an all-round sportsman having played cricket for Middlesex Schools and is a football fan, following Arsenal.
The Dragons have also signed Canadian full back/wing Matt Evans who is currently involved with his national side in the Churchill Cup competition.
He has a Welsh mother from Narberth and is studying at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire where former Newport coach Allan Lewis is director of rugby and is enthusiastic about Evans’ prospects.
Evans, who like Ellis is 22, has played against Wales as a replacement and will provide important cover at full back for the Dragons with Martyn Thomas out until at least November after suffering a serious leg injury.