NEWPORT flanker Craig Attwell has changed from black and amber to black and gold after securing a move Down Under, writes Chris Kirwan.

Tuesday's 10-9 Premiership derby defeat to Cross Keys was the 23-year-old openside's last before heading off to play for Sydney-based St Patrick's.

Attwell, who came through the Dragons Academy as a hooker before shifting to the back row when with Pontypool, moves to Australia in a fortnight.

He'll barely have a chance to get over his jet lag before being flung straight into action in the First Division of the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union.

"Back-to-back seasons will be tough but it's a hell of an opportunity," said the flanker from Newbridge, who will also do some community coaching for his new club.

"Their team manager contacted me on Facebook last year but I had an operation on my wrist and was out all summer. Luckily they kept in touch and signed me up for this season.

"I can't wait and it's come around so quickly. It will be strange going from a big physical Gwent derby to throwing the ball around the park but hopefully it will improve me as a player."

A last-minute Keys penalty denied Attwell the chance to sign off on a winning note but the flanker, who got a leaving present of a nasty cut above the right eye, believes the signs are promising for eighth-placed Newport to enjoy a better 2014/15.

"We have shown recently against Carmarthen Quins (a 25-21 win), Llanelli (22-22 draw) and Keys – three teams going for the playoffs – that we are a good side," he said.

"It has been the same all year, being edged out in tough games, but they are a good bunch here and I am sure they will kick on and be at the top end of the table next season."