DRAGONS great Lewis Evans and fellow forward Matthew Screech have signed new two-year contracts, writes Chris Kirwan.

Evans, who has been converted from the back row to lock this season, is the Rodney Parade region's record appearance holder.

The 31-year-old from Newport has played 225 games since his debut against the Scarlets in 2006.

The uncapped forward, who received two Wales squad call-ups and played in the Possibles versus Probables trial game in 2014, broke Steve 'Jabba' Jones' appearance record in September, 2016.

Evans' new deal will see the Argus columnist continue in his transition to coaching after helping with the Dragons' age-grade teams in recent seasons, but primarily he will be an important component of the pack.

South Wales Argus: DRAGONS GREAT: Lewis EvansDRAGONS GREAT: Lewis Evans

Interim head coach Ceri Jones said: "Lewis is a leader on and off the pitch for the Dragons, born in the region and a true stalwart, so it's great for Lewis and the Dragons to keep him as a player and develop him as a coach for the future."

Evans, who will miss Saturday's clash with the Ospreys because of a calf strain, will work with the Dragons Celtic Cup team and provide welcome versatility given that locks Cory Hill and Brandon Nansen plus back rower Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty will hope to be at Japan 2019.

"I'm pleased to have extended my time with the Dragons for another two seasons, which will take me up to a lucky 15 years," he said.

"Next season is going to be tough for all teams, as they will losing international players with the World Cup, so the strength and depth in squads will show, where teams will need a solid squad of 35 players.

"There's an exciting future here with players such as Taine Basham, Lennon Greggains and Jared Rosser putting their hand up when they've been called upon, but I can still play a fair few games and have plenty to offer.

"I'm still a player first, but within my contract there's a transition towards the end of it into a player/coach role."

South Wales Argus: DEPENDABLE: Dragons lock Matthew Screech has agreed fresh termsDEPENDABLE: Dragons lock Matthew Screech has agreed fresh terms

Screech has been in fine form recently and has been a dependable member of the pack since joining from Cardiff Blues.

The 26-year-old lock has made 119 appearances with Jones hailing his appetite for hard graft.

The forwards coach said: "Matthew Screech has been a consistent 20-game-a-season performer for the Dragons for last six years, so its great news his loyalty and commitment is rightfully rewarded with a new two-year contract.

"Screech brings excellent work rate around the park and physical presence at set piece, at 26 he is a player coming into his prime.

"Retaining Lewis and Matthew with their experience will prove invaluable during the World Cup when every team will be affected by call-ups and helps us bring on our set of young talented forwards too."