Powerhouse back Ross Wardle earns a regional contract
POWERFUL back Ross Wardle is being tipped to make a big impact for Newport Gwent Dragons next season after penning a professional contract with the region.
The 21-year-old Bedwas wing/centre trained with the region in pre-season and impressed when up against Biarritz try machine Takudzwa Ngwenya in a friendly in the south of France.
He went on to make his Dragons debut in the LV= Cup at Bath, scoring a try and being denied another by a contentious decision by the officials.
Those efforts have earned Wardle, who is in his final year of a pharmacy degree at Cardiff University, a one-year deal at Rodney Parade.
“Ross is a bit different to our other options,” said head coach Darren Edwards.
“He is powerful with good running lines and is strong defensively. I am confident he will make a big impact for us.
“On the back of Andrew Coombs doing so well for Wales (after earning a pro deal by starring in the Premiership), we are looking to keep developing the best talent in our region.
“Ross was with us last pre-season and impressed us. He played in the LV= Cup at Bath and did very well and we have monitored him closely for Bedwas.
“He has stood out for them and is one of the main reasons they are doing so well at the top of the table. The next challenge for him is to earn his shot in the Dragons XV.
“We have limited time with him at the moment because of his studies but I am sure that with a good pre-season under his belt he will be a big player for us.”
Wardle has spent the last three seasons with Bedwas, featuring primarily in midfield, and head coach Steve Law believes he has come on leaps and bounds.
“Ross has improved dramatically,” he said.
“He enjoys the big collisions in attack and defence but he has also got better in terms of his skill and awareness.
“With Ross you get honesty and consistency – you know what you will get week in, week out. He is a good lad and he also trains very hard.
“I am sure that he will benefit from being in a professional environment and with more hard work will go on to be a real success.”