NEWPORT Gwent Dragons will have just three frontline locks in their squad next season after the departure of Scott Morgan.
The 33-year-old, who was capped once by Wales, is set to sign for an English side after being released by the region.
The Dragons are now down to three specialist second rows in their squad – last season’s player of the year Rob Sidoli, Adam Jones and new signing Ian Nimmo – while back row forwards Jevon Groves and Andrew Coombs have deputised in the past.
Morgan was not offered a new deal and will now combine playing semi-professional rugby with his sports nutrition business.
He joined the Dragons from Cardiff Blues in 2010 and was an influential figure in his first season at Rodney Parade, going on to make 21 appearances.
However, he turned out just nine times for the region last term after a pectoral injury suffered in the December Amlin Challenge Cup loss at Exeter ruled him out for four months.
“Last season was a frustrating one because of injury but I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Dragons,” said Morgan, who has also had spells with Llanelli, Leeds and Bristol.
“After sitting down with the coaches and discussing my future at the end of last season it was clear I was faced with a tough decision.
“Rugby is all I have known after 16 years as a professional but I am at that stage of my career where I have to look to the future.
“My sports supplements company is really taking off and I would be a fool to let a chance slip through my fingers – I don’t want to look back in 12 months time and have any regrets on the business front. But I am not ready to finish playing just yet and I’m set to play for a club in England.
“I’ve been fortunate, I have played for Wales and in 50 European games and I am really proud of what I have achieved.”
The specialist Dragons locks will be backed up by former UWIC second row Josh Tyler, who has joined the Dragons’ ranks after getting his first taste of regional action in the LV= Cup loss to the Ospreys last season.
Bedwas’ Craig Lodge has also joined the region at pre-season training.