NEWPORT are hoping to there will be a scrap for starts next season after confirming their first batch of summer signings.
Centre Dan Robinson, full-back Geraint O’Driscoll and scrum-half Andrew Quick head to Rodney Parade from Pontypool and they will be joined by Pontypridd scrum-half Rhys Downes, Cardiff fly-half Scott Sneddon and back row forward Craig Everett from Carmarthen Quins.
The Black and Ambers have endured a pair of Premiership seasons to forget with a 7th-placed finish in 2011 and an even more disappointing 11th last term.
A shift in policy will see them taking a bit more control over their own affairs in 2012/13 rather than relying on fringe Dragons players – a necessity given that the region have trimmed their squad.
The Newport coaching staff were hindered by low numbers at midweek training last season but head coach Sven Cronk is confident that will be a problem of the past.
“The whole aim of this summer’s recruitment was to create a contest for positions,” said Cronk.
“We haven’t had that over the last few years and the numbers available in midweek has denied us the chance to create a competitive training environment.
“These signings will help change that but not only are we bringing in more players but I feel we are bringing in quality.
“Quicky was a real crowd favourite here before he went up to Pontypool and it should be a great between between him and Rhys, who has shown his talent over the years.
“Geraint and Dan are good footballers who will be keen to play on a good track and Scott is a fly-half who not only kicks his points but also distributes superbly.
“Up front Craig is a dogged Rhondda boy with a great attitude. He will be an important part in the ethos that we will be creating.”
The new era also sees an experienced quartet that boast 477 Newport appearances between them heading for the exit door.
Lock and former captain Alex Jones (94), flanker Craig Hill (131), fly-half Gareth Bowen (35) and centre Scott Williams (217) will not be among the Black and Ambers when they start pre-season training next week.
Newport have introduced a scheme where under-20s can claim a free season ticket when an adult buys one.