THE northern duo of Jacob Botica and Tiaan Loots have the steel, determination and drive to flourish when they head south to the Dragons, according to former Wales wing Mark Jones.

Fly-half Botica and centre Loots are among 14 signings made by head coach Bernard Jackman for next season.

The pair have earned a crack as professionals after leading the charge for RGC 1404 in the Principality Premiership under boss Jones.

They will be down the pecking order at the start of pre-season but the ex-Scarlets winger, who won 47 caps and was a member of the 2008 Grand Slam winning team, believes they will make a quick impression on the Dragons management.

“They are very good Premiership players who have been up there with the best in the competition and are very professional,” said Jones.

“They have that aspirational drive and eke every little bit out of the amount of time that we have with them.

“I know lots is spoken about RGC and that we apparently running a full-time environment, which is poppycock, but the guys give up their own time around their work to come in and do extra training when its available to them.

“You get out what you put in and those boys have put a tonne of work in.

“Now they are not going to have to work, will have a far more settled training programme and their every need will be catered for.

“If the coaches work well with them then they will get a lot out of those boys because they have the right mettle about them.”

Wigan-born Botica spent two seasons at Parc Eirias, winning Premiership player of the year in his first campaign.

The 25-year-old will rival Gavin Henson, Arwel Robson and fellow new recruit Josh Lewis for the 10 jersey, with Jones believing the son of former All Black Frano has the tools to get the Dragons’ dangerous three-quarters running.

“Jacob is a very rounded player,” said Jones. “He won’t make 50-metre breaks and finish by rounding the full-back but he manages the game very well and controls others around him, getting the best out of them.

“He has got a very good temperament and is able to emotionally control his thinking and skills when the pressure comes on.

“Jacob has got a very good passing game and his goalkicking is excellent, but there is lots of room for improvement and plenty more to come.”

Loots, from Cape Town, is Welsh-qualified after joining RGC in 2014 and was a leading figure in their promotion from the Championship and WRU National Cup triumph last year.

The 26-year-old will battle with Jack Dixon, Connor Edwards, Adam Warren and Henson for the 12 jersey with his old boss saying that the centre now offers more than just a crash ball and strong defensive hits.

“Tiaan has always had that South African physicality and I am told that was pretty much all he had for many years,” said Jones, who took the reins in Colwyn Bay in the summer of 2016.

“As coaches we have developed his handling and decision-making; he was a big target for our opposition but is able to use the ball and be a foil for others around him.

“He is now far more controlled in attack and defence – there would always be eye-catching moments but also errors. Now he still has the positive aspects but the errors are few and far between, which will be so important as a professional.”