8:20am Saturday 30th June 2012
By Chris Kirwan
THERE’S more than just one former Wales international now at Rodney Parade with the intention of nailing down the start at full-back.
Tom Prydie has grabbed the headlines over the past few weeks after playing a starring role in Wales Under-20s’ third-placed finish at the Junior World Championship.
The 20-year-old speedster, who has been capped four times and is Wales’ youngest international, played on the wing in South Africa but was primarily signed by Newport Gwent Dragons as a full-back.
But Dan Evans is aiming to ensure that Prydie is playing plenty of rugby on the flanks after joining from the Scarlets.
Evans, 23, has become something of a forgotten man since being capped twice on Wales’ tour of North America in 2009.
He found himself down the pecking order at his region and spent last season turning out for the Quins at Carmarthen Park rather than at Parc y Scarlets.
But Evans, who will provide a kicking option both out of hand and from the tee, feels rejuvenated after making the move east.
“The last few seasons have been frustrating and I didn’t really get many opportunities,” said the left-footer.
“I had been with the Scarlets since the age of 16 and I think I needed a change and a different experience.
“Perhaps I slipped into a comfort zone, I was used to everything in the environment there and was going through the motions a bit.
“Sometimes you need a new challenge and I hope that this move will prove to be exactly what I needed.
“Pre-season is all getting fit but I just can’t wait to get the ball in my hands now. After a frustrating few seasons it’s nice to have that hunger back and be excited about playing.
“I just want to play week in week out. I’ve always had an ambition to play for Wales again, who wouldn’t? But all I am worried now about is playing here and doing a job for the Dragons.”
It’s not only Prydie that will be Evans’ rival for the number 15 jersey, Will Harries, Hallam Amos and Pat Leach are all in the mix at full-back.
“There’s plenty of healthy competition in the back three and I think any side needs that,” said Evans, who can also play at fly-half.
“The way that things went at the Scarlets showed me the importance of taking opportunities when they come along.
“I am desperate to play regular rugby and I know that I need to perform well to earn that start.
“I played a lot of games for the Scarlets, including plenty in the Heineken Cup, and that experience might be important because this is a young squad.
“But I still have plenty to learn myself and I am excited by the prospect of working with these coaches because there is real ambition here.”
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