Give Lewis Robling and Steffan Jones chance to shine urges legend Neil Jenkins
WALES coach Neil Jenkins urges the Newport Gwent Dragons not to sign an overseas outside half because he believes they have two exciting home-grown prospects in Lewis Robling and Steffan Jones.
It is understood the Dragons have been thinking of bringing an experienced southern hemisphere stand off to Rodney Parade in the wake of Jason Tovey’s departure to Cardiff Blues.
Rumours they are targeting Super 15 fly half Peter Grant are misplaced because he has just signed a one-year extension deal with the Cape Town-based Stormers.
Ex-Wales outside half great and current national skills coach Jenkins pleads with the Dragons to give Robling, 20, and Jones, 21, a chance to flourish next season rather than look to bring in a player from outside Wales.
Tovey, Robling and Jones shared the outside half job fairly evenly at the Dragons last season, each player making 21, 19 and 14 appearances respectively.
Wales’ record points scorer Jenkins, scoring 1,049 in his 87 caps between 1991 and 2003, highlighted the number of outstanding No 10 Wales currently have.
After talking about Rhys Priestland, James Hook, Dan Biggar, Tovey and Ospreys youngsters Matthew Morgan and Sam Davies, he revealed he was also a big fan of Robling.
“I think Lewis is a lovely player – I like watching him play.
“I think he’s a very good player,” Jenkins said.
“He’s played a bit at 12 as well which will have done him good.
“Lewis sees the game, takes the ball to the line, distributes well. I know he’s got to keep working hard on his kicking and I know he’s doing that.
“I think he’s very talented and he’s got a good future ahead of him.
“With Jason leaving, going to the Blues, hopefully he’ll get a huge amount of game time and it will only improve him.”
On Jones, who hopes to be fit for the new season after breaking his ankle in action for Cross Keys during their superb British & Irish Cup win over Championship finalists Cornish Pirates in April, Jenkins said: “Jason leaving also opens the door for Steffan to battle it out with Lewis.
“They are both good players and Steffan’s a pretty good goal kicker as well.
“The Dragons have got a lot of good youngsters there and you’ve got to stick with them.”
On being asked if the Dragons needed to bring in an overseas player, Jenkins replied: “Unless you are struggling in a position, I don’t see why you need to.
“I think you look to see what’s in Wales.
“I think there’s an awful lot of talent in Wales sitting on the sidelines.
“There’s no substitute for playing and I don’t see why with Lewis and Steffan there (they would need to look outside) – they’ve already got two quality players.”