Dragons give Premiership aces a chance to impress

South Wales Argus: GREAT SEASON: Cross Keys hooker Gerwyn Price celebrates after scoring at the Millennium Stadium in the Swalec Cup final GREAT SEASON: Cross Keys hooker Gerwyn Price celebrates after scoring at the Millennium Stadium in the Swalec Cup final

A GROUP of Premiership players have been handed the chance to impress Newport Gwent Dragons after being invited to join them at pre-season training.

The region's official return from the off-season is a week on Monday but a number of Dragons, mostly those who spent a large amount of last season on the treatment table, are already back doing weights and conditioning work.

And they have been joined by some individuals that have caught the eye in the top flight of Welsh club rugby.

Among them are Cross Keys hooker Gerwyn Price, back row forward Hywel Stoddart and his new Newport teammates Rhys Downes and Dan Robinson and Bedwas' Richard Powell, Ross Wardle and Craig Lodge, a fly-half, centre and lock respectively.

The group of semi-professionals has been working with assistant coach Rob Appleyard and conditioning coaches Alex Lawson and James Knight.

“They have come in in their own time and it’s a good opportunity to look at them in a professional environment, but also for them to have a look at us,” said director of rugby Robert Beale.

“Some have been invited for a five-week block and it should provide us with more of an insight into players who have impressed in the Premiership.

“The Premiership is an important pathway for us and it should help to paint a picture of players who have stood out. I sure this will be valuable for both our coaches and this group.”

The players will be keen to make an impression given that the Dragons will be operating with a slimmed-down squad in the coming season.

Last term saw Stoddart, brother of Wales full-back Morgan, make his regional debut in the win in Edinburgh while utility back Geraint O'Driscoll and prop Keiron Jenkins, then of Pontypool and Bedwas respectively, also tasted RaboDirect Pro12 action.

The Dragons are likely to continue with the policy of asking clubs if they could borrow players rather than offering full-time contracts, though it could be a different matter for Price.

The region is in the market for another hooker and he was closely watched during a stellar campaign at Pandy Park that saw him nominated for the Premiership player of the year award.

Meanwhile, the Dragons expect to be picking from a full squad come the start of the season.

Full-back Jamie Smith, whose first season at Rodney Parade was hindered by horrible luck with injuries, suffered a setback after picking up an infection following surgery on his left foot. The Ulsterman had to go back under the knife but it is hoped that it won't impact on his scheduled return to action and that he will back in the mix come September.

Comments (30)

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1:34pm Sat 9 Jun 12

b3talover says...

Come and watch Premiership level rugby for Rabodirect prices?

Do you really think people will fall for that?

It's almost as bad as charging Premiership prices for Conference level football.

Only in Newport eh?

People just wont turn up.

Simple really.
Come and watch Premiership level rugby for Rabodirect prices? Do you really think people will fall for that? It's almost as bad as charging Premiership prices for Conference level football. Only in Newport eh? People just wont turn up. Simple really. b3talover
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Sat 9 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

If Newport have signed Dan Robinson from Pooler they will be in contempt of court as no club can sign any Pooler players until the result of the High Court case is known. I wonder how many other clubs will be in the same boat?
If Newport have signed Dan Robinson from Pooler they will be in contempt of court as no club can sign any Pooler players until the result of the High Court case is known. I wonder how many other clubs will be in the same boat? no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Sat 9 Jun 12

Cwmsteve says...

Being unaware of the finer details of the court issue, i'm sure if a player is out of contract at the end of the season he would be open to sign for who he wishes. I can't imagine a player waiting on his future espeially if there is the carrot of a professional contract. Also with regards to the premiership players being given chances, i wish them all the best, i'd rather watch them than some over paid import passed his sell by date.
Being unaware of the finer details of the court issue, i'm sure if a player is out of contract at the end of the season he would be open to sign for who he wishes. I can't imagine a player waiting on his future espeially if there is the carrot of a professional contract. Also with regards to the premiership players being given chances, i wish them all the best, i'd rather watch them than some over paid import passed his sell by date. Cwmsteve
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Sat 9 Jun 12

Euwan Usami says...

"Premiership level rugby for Rabodirect prices"? We are missing the whole point of the regional structure aren't we? The players that impress at Premiership level are meant to move up to the regional side. Pooler are part of the Dragons region also and as such the players can be moved around as required as I understand it without anything being signed. Geraint ODriscol has played a few times as mentioned and Tovey has returned the favour along with Gustafson for Pooler. Best of luck to the up and comming crowd. We could do with a few more "Premiership" players like Nathan Buck and Lloyd Burns comming through. :)
"Premiership level rugby for Rabodirect prices"? We are missing the whole point of the regional structure aren't we? The players that impress at Premiership level are meant to move up to the regional side. Pooler are part of the Dragons region also and as such the players can be moved around as required as I understand it without anything being signed. Geraint ODriscol has played a few times as mentioned and Tovey has returned the favour along with Gustafson for Pooler. Best of luck to the up and comming crowd. We could do with a few more "Premiership" players like Nathan Buck and Lloyd Burns comming through. :) Euwan Usami
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Sat 9 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

Nobody would want to stop players stepping up and getting a Regional contract. However the article states that Dan is a Newport player but he and other Pooler players cannot according to the Court ruling cannot be signed until after the outcome of the court case is decided. Players might be out of contract but clubs hold their registration until a transfer is confirmed by the WRU. None of this can happen until the court case is concluded
Nobody would want to stop players stepping up and getting a Regional contract. However the article states that Dan is a Newport player but he and other Pooler players cannot according to the Court ruling cannot be signed until after the outcome of the court case is decided. Players might be out of contract but clubs hold their registration until a transfer is confirmed by the WRU. None of this can happen until the court case is concluded no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Sat 9 Jun 12

the-dragons says...

Dragons you really needed to gerwyn price as he in the same mould as Lloyd burns . A player who will run through a brick wall for the team
Dragons you really needed to gerwyn price as he in the same mould as Lloyd burns . A player who will run through a brick wall for the team the-dragons
  • Score: 0

8:14pm Sat 9 Jun 12

the-dragons says...

*sign
*sign the-dragons
  • Score: 0

1:19am Sun 10 Jun 12

Newport Dave says...

I think th ewhole "nobody can sign Pooler players" issue is grossly exagerated.
If a player is out of contract, they are a free agent and the club has no power over them.
There are also laws regarding restriction of trade, so there is some very thin ice out there.
I think th ewhole "nobody can sign Pooler players" issue is grossly exagerated. If a player is out of contract, they are a free agent and the club has no power over them. There are also laws regarding restriction of trade, so there is some very thin ice out there. Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

1:30am Sun 10 Jun 12

Newport Dave says...

no1poolerfan wrote:
Nobody would want to stop players stepping up and getting a Regional contract. However the article states that Dan is a Newport player but he and other Pooler players cannot according to the Court ruling cannot be signed until after the outcome of the court case is decided. Players might be out of contract but clubs hold their registration until a transfer is confirmed by the WRU. None of this can happen until the court case is concluded
With limited places available in premier division squads, any Pooler player who wants to be playing in this division next season needs to act quickly or could well miss out and end up playing in the next tier down due to these "alleged" restrictions put on them.
Do you really think these players would give their all next season for a club who stopped them moving on?
It would be a stupid move on Pooler's part to prevent players moving. They need to reach ammicable agreements with players and other clubs sooner rather than later.
[quote][p][bold]no1poolerfan[/bold] wrote: Nobody would want to stop players stepping up and getting a Regional contract. However the article states that Dan is a Newport player but he and other Pooler players cannot according to the Court ruling cannot be signed until after the outcome of the court case is decided. Players might be out of contract but clubs hold their registration until a transfer is confirmed by the WRU. None of this can happen until the court case is concluded[/p][/quote]With limited places available in premier division squads, any Pooler player who wants to be playing in this division next season needs to act quickly or could well miss out and end up playing in the next tier down due to these "alleged" restrictions put on them. Do you really think these players would give their all next season for a club who stopped them moving on? It would be a stupid move on Pooler's part to prevent players moving. They need to reach ammicable agreements with players and other clubs sooner rather than later. Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

10:30am Sun 10 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

They are not alleged restrictions but a fact if you look at the judges decision. Players could move on once the Courts decision is announced. So until that has happened no Club can announce the signing of any Pooler player,especially as the WRU cannot sanction any transfer until the Court decision is known
They are not alleged restrictions but a fact if you look at the judges decision. Players could move on once the Courts decision is announced. So until that has happened no Club can announce the signing of any Pooler player,especially as the WRU cannot sanction any transfer until the Court decision is known no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Sun 10 Jun 12

Newport Dave says...

Can't see how any court in the world can force a player to stay where he is even if the club has no contract with him.
There will be a loophole (very possibly based on restriction of trade).
Can't see how any court in the world can force a player to stay where he is even if the club has no contract with him. There will be a loophole (very possibly based on restriction of trade). Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Sun 10 Jun 12

Sarona says...

Trust Pontypool!!! They even try stopping their players from having a future!!!
Trust Pontypool!!! They even try stopping their players from having a future!!! Sarona
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Sun 10 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

Many Pooler players have gone on to better things and have been a credit to rugby and with the blessing of Pooler. This was a court decision
Many Pooler players have gone on to better things and have been a credit to rugby and with the blessing of Pooler. This was a court decision no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Sun 10 Jun 12

Raging Bull says...

Rugby is played on grass not in court rooms.History is great for clubs but keep up this is the modern game whether we like it or not.Welcome to the year 2012.
Rugby is played on grass not in court rooms.History is great for clubs but keep up this is the modern game whether we like it or not.Welcome to the year 2012. Raging Bull
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Sun 10 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

I wonder what other clubs would have done if they had been in Pooler's situation?
I wonder what other clubs would have done if they had been in Pooler's situation? no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Sun 10 Jun 12

B.Marley says...

no1poolerfan wrote:
I wonder what other clubs would have done if they had been in Pooler's situation?
Upgraded their ground so it would not have failed the criteria laid down by the WRU.
[quote][p][bold]no1poolerfan[/bold] wrote: I wonder what other clubs would have done if they had been in Pooler's situation?[/p][/quote]Upgraded their ground so it would not have failed the criteria laid down by the WRU. B.Marley
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Sun 10 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question
I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

10:30am Mon 11 Jun 12

b3talover says...

no1poolerfan wrote:
I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question
You have to admit that Pontypool are playing the "We were famous in the 70's and 80's and must command respect because of our history" card. Over the last 6 years your average league position has not been good enough to warrant a Premiership spot. You haven't spent enough on your squad or facilities for years, expecting players to flock to you just because of your famous name. Stop living in the past. Flashing your club blazers in the courtroom isn't going to help you. They won't care about your history. It annoys me to think that teams feel they should be immune to relegation just because of their famous history. Pontypool RFC is a small valley club with delusions of grandeur.
[quote][p][bold]no1poolerfan[/bold] wrote: I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question[/p][/quote]You have to admit that Pontypool are playing the "We were famous in the 70's and 80's and must command respect because of our history" card. Over the last 6 years your average league position has not been good enough to warrant a Premiership spot. You haven't spent enough on your squad or facilities for years, expecting players to flock to you just because of your famous name. Stop living in the past. Flashing your club blazers in the courtroom isn't going to help you. They won't care about your history. It annoys me to think that teams feel they should be immune to relegation just because of their famous history. Pontypool RFC is a small valley club with delusions of grandeur. b3talover
  • Score: 0

10:42am Mon 11 Jun 12

Newport Dave says...

As a word of caution, I'd also say don't bite the hand that feeds you. We all have sponsors and backers, but th £80k we all get off the union is a big handout whcih drops to about £8K in the next division down.
The wru are running the show (no matter how badly) and they don't take kindly to being taken to court.
Pooler may not be relegated this year, but the union will not forget and somewhere soon down the line, Pooler will pay for it. It pays to keep in with the union.
As a word of caution, I'd also say don't bite the hand that feeds you. We all have sponsors and backers, but th £80k we all get off the union is a big handout whcih drops to about £8K in the next division down. The wru are running the show (no matter how badly) and they don't take kindly to being taken to court. Pooler may not be relegated this year, but the union will not forget and somewhere soon down the line, Pooler will pay for it. It pays to keep in with the union. Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

11:09am Mon 11 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

b3talover - where are Pooler playing their history card. You do not find that argument in any of their submissions to the WRU and the court
b3talover - where are Pooler playing their history card. You do not find that argument in any of their submissions to the WRU and the court no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Mon 11 Jun 12

JTFish says...

Gwent players playing for their regional side NGD (DRAGONS)! Sprinkling of quality players from outside the region. Be it from in Wales preferably but if not anywhere!
Not end of career retirement money handouts though!
I’m getting fed up of the old pro coming to us and spending more time in the treatment room! Might as well not have them at all.
It’s a bit unfair for PP to be in this position but I’m afraid you makes your bed.
Newport could have broke the bank on players to win the premiership for the last 5/6 years but there must be a common goal towards region & international sides. We(Newport) have been struggling with the turnover of players when supporting our region. Also, the loss of interest of from once Newport supporters who cannot afford the two ticket hits and the same for the sponsorship opportunities which are swallowed up by the region being based at RP.
Just wish some of our other sides (club & regional) would do the same and be guided by the WRU. Instead they hog a large amount of talent getting bench splinters!
Gwent players playing for their regional side NGD (DRAGONS)! Sprinkling of quality players from outside the region. Be it from in Wales preferably but if not anywhere! Not end of career retirement money handouts though! I’m getting fed up of the old pro coming to us and spending more time in the treatment room! Might as well not have them at all. It’s a bit unfair for PP to be in this position but I’m afraid you makes your bed. Newport could have broke the bank on players to win the premiership for the last 5/6 years but there must be a common goal towards region & international sides. We(Newport) have been struggling with the turnover of players when supporting our region. Also, the loss of interest of from once Newport supporters who cannot afford the two ticket hits and the same for the sponsorship opportunities which are swallowed up by the region being based at RP. Just wish some of our other sides (club & regional) would do the same and be guided by the WRU. Instead they hog a large amount of talent getting bench splinters! JTFish
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Mon 11 Jun 12

Tall Pruner says...

Dan Robinson has been a fantastic player for a number of seasons, and has remained loyal to Pooler. I think he will be a major asset to the Dragons and Wales, the only question that is washing around is the one of why does it seem his career will move on, with him signing for Newport?
He has been good enough to have been given the opportunity a few seasons ago.....
Dan Robinson has been a fantastic player for a number of seasons, and has remained loyal to Pooler. I think he will be a major asset to the Dragons and Wales, the only question that is washing around is the one of why does it seem his career will move on, with him signing for Newport? He has been good enough to have been given the opportunity a few seasons ago..... Tall Pruner
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Mon 11 Jun 12

number12 says...

where do you think all the current players of Dragons, Wales etc stared their career's? they didn't just make it at top overnight! they start at club level, the whole point in pooler, newport, bedwas and keys is to feed Dragons, so if they want the players then... and i'm sure at every club every player would love the chance to take a step up in their career and go regional!
where do you think all the current players of Dragons, Wales etc stared their career's? they didn't just make it at top overnight! they start at club level, the whole point in pooler, newport, bedwas and keys is to feed Dragons, so if they want the players then... and i'm sure at every club every player would love the chance to take a step up in their career and go regional! number12
  • Score: 0

10:14am Tue 12 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

So Dan should not have to sign for Newport to get a Dragons chance. He should have got it playing with Pooler!! He is certainly good enough
So Dan should not have to sign for Newport to get a Dragons chance. He should have got it playing with Pooler!! He is certainly good enough no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Tue 12 Jun 12

corpardguy says...

Whats the chance of Pooler winning the court case?
I believe the rules (daft as they are) are clearly WRITTEN down and all clubs sign to agree to them to be able to compete in the respective competitions under WRU oversight. If they can't offer good players something other than play for us because we are/were once good they have to let them go.
Its just like being head hunted for any job, if your good enough to step up you do, because you want to be with the best, to be the best you can. Its simply personal and professional pride.
I mourn Pooler's fall as much as any Gwent rugby fan, but rules is rules.........and taking a leaf out of Northamptons book they can always bounce straight back next year. They should have enough motivation.
Whats the chance of Pooler winning the court case? I believe the rules (daft as they are) are clearly WRITTEN down and all clubs sign to agree to them to be able to compete in the respective competitions under WRU oversight. If they can't offer good players something other than play for us because we are/were once good they have to let them go. Its just like being head hunted for any job, if your good enough to step up you do, because you want to be with the best, to be the best you can. Its simply personal and professional pride. I mourn Pooler's fall as much as any Gwent rugby fan, but rules is rules.........and taking a leaf out of Northamptons book they can always bounce straight back next year. They should have enough motivation. corpardguy
  • Score: 0

12:01am Wed 13 Jun 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

I have read all the submissions to this topic with interest. Pontypool have had a very good history over the years, so have Ebbw Vale and Newport, even Cross Keys (no disrespect to them) have had a few very notable players particularly lately. The fact remains that Pontypool play on a ground that is a public park and not pwned by the rugby club itself. This causes a problem for meeting the specification (for good or ill) that has been laid down by the WRU. It will be hard for Pontypool to prove that they have total control over the ground therefore very hard to win thier case in court. It is a pity given the performance they had in the Premiership this year, but remember they have only just returned to the Premiership after being relegated. The rules as Corpardguy says are very specific and lets hope that both Pontypool and Ebbw Vale are in with a shout to gain promotion back to the Premiership, but unfortunately only if Pontypool can meet the criteria laid down in respect of ground ownership.
I have read all the submissions to this topic with interest. Pontypool have had a very good history over the years, so have Ebbw Vale and Newport, even Cross Keys (no disrespect to them) have had a few very notable players particularly lately. The fact remains that Pontypool play on a ground that is a public park and not pwned by the rugby club itself. This causes a problem for meeting the specification (for good or ill) that has been laid down by the WRU. It will be hard for Pontypool to prove that they have total control over the ground therefore very hard to win thier case in court. It is a pity given the performance they had in the Premiership this year, but remember they have only just returned to the Premiership after being relegated. The rules as Corpardguy says are very specific and lets hope that both Pontypool and Ebbw Vale are in with a shout to gain promotion back to the Premiership, but unfortunately only if Pontypool can meet the criteria laid down in respect of ground ownership. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

9:35am Wed 13 Jun 12

no1poolerfan says...

All of the above Pooler meet and have the certificate to prove it and by the date the WRU stipulated
All of the above Pooler meet and have the certificate to prove it and by the date the WRU stipulated no1poolerfan
  • Score: 0

9:33pm Wed 13 Jun 12

Tall Pruner says...

So why is it, so many people believe Pooler have not met the A licence?
Why would it be a part of the criteria that a ground should be owned by the club, not even the regions have that imposed on them??????
So why is it, so many people believe Pooler have not met the A licence? Why would it be a part of the criteria that a ground should be owned by the club, not even the regions have that imposed on them?????? Tall Pruner
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Fri 15 Jun 12

ebbwdragon says...

b3talover wrote:
no1poolerfan wrote: I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question
You have to admit that Pontypool are playing the "We were famous in the 70's and 80's and must command respect because of our history" card. Over the last 6 years your average league position has not been good enough to warrant a Premiership spot. You haven't spent enough on your squad or facilities for years, expecting players to flock to you just because of your famous name. Stop living in the past. Flashing your club blazers in the courtroom isn't going to help you. They won't care about your history. It annoys me to think that teams feel they should be immune to relegation just because of their famous history. Pontypool RFC is a small valley club with delusions of grandeur.
This has got to be the most 'tongue in cheek' post I have ever seen. For a Newport supporter to accuse anyone of 'Living in the past and flashing their blazers' is quite frankly hilarious, I remember when they finished bottom and were under threat of relegation it was all 'What a tragedy, surely a great historic club like Newport should not be playing in Division 2', the fact that you had lost 5 times to Caerphilly and were only saved by the even more arrogant Cardiff & Swansea deciding to play in England was obviously not relevant.
[quote][p][bold]b3talover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]no1poolerfan[/bold] wrote: I don't think there is any need to comment on the last post as the person has obviously not been following the developments of the case in question[/p][/quote]You have to admit that Pontypool are playing the "We were famous in the 70's and 80's and must command respect because of our history" card. Over the last 6 years your average league position has not been good enough to warrant a Premiership spot. You haven't spent enough on your squad or facilities for years, expecting players to flock to you just because of your famous name. Stop living in the past. Flashing your club blazers in the courtroom isn't going to help you. They won't care about your history. It annoys me to think that teams feel they should be immune to relegation just because of their famous history. Pontypool RFC is a small valley club with delusions of grandeur.[/p][/quote]This has got to be the most 'tongue in cheek' post I have ever seen. For a Newport supporter to accuse anyone of 'Living in the past and flashing their blazers' is quite frankly hilarious, I remember when they finished bottom and were under threat of relegation it was all 'What a tragedy, surely a great historic club like Newport should not be playing in Division 2', the fact that you had lost 5 times to Caerphilly and were only saved by the even more arrogant Cardiff & Swansea deciding to play in England was obviously not relevant. ebbwdragon
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Mon 18 Jun 12

Gwent Osprey says...

How short some people’s memories. It was OK for Cardiff Llanelli and Newport to threaten court action when this crock of c**p we got now was formed. But because pooler is doing it everyone is up in arms. If any of the above clubs were told they be leaving the prem league they would all be in court. Even the WRU are using scare tactics by threatening to recover the £250K in court cost if Pooler lose the case. By the courts own figures it should be no more than £70K well within the raised to fight the case. It’s all smoke and mirrors with the WRU who’s own legal team told them to settle out of court. Interesting times ahead
How short some people’s memories. It was OK for Cardiff Llanelli and Newport to threaten court action when this crock of c**p we got now was formed. But because pooler is doing it everyone is up in arms. If any of the above clubs were told they be leaving the prem league they would all be in court. Even the WRU are using scare tactics by threatening to recover the £250K in court cost if Pooler lose the case. By the courts own figures it should be no more than £70K well within the raised to fight the case. It’s all smoke and mirrors with the WRU who’s own legal team told them to settle out of court. Interesting times ahead Gwent Osprey
  • Score: 0

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