FORMER Dragons centre Sam Beard has followed Carl Meyer and Tiaan Loots in signing up for Major League Rugby in the USA, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 29-year-old has signed a two-year deal to play for New England Free Jacks in the competition, which kicks off in February.

Beard made 32 appearances for the Dragons after arriving from Edinburgh in 2016.

The New Zealander, Welsh-qualified through a grandfather from Monmouth, was a firm fixture in midfield until he suffered a torn pec at the start of 2017/18.

After leaving Rodney Parade he played for Canterbury in the Mitre Cup and the Crusaders against the French Barbarians before signing for Cardiff RFC this summer.

Now the centre, who is a coach at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire, is Boston-bound.

South Wales Argus:

"I'm really looking forward to this new opportunity with the Free Jacks in Major League Rugby," said Beard.

"It's exciting to be a part of this a new challenge to build rugby at the professional level in the US.

"This year is completely unique as the team is coming together for the first time and the season ahead can be anything the players and coaching staff want it to be, provided we work hard."

In August former Dragons Carl Meyer, who made 64 regional appearances after earning a chance thanks to his exploits with Ebbw Vale, signed a three-year contract with New Orleans Gold.

His fellow South African Loots followed after being released by the Dragons to sign for Houston Sabercats. The centre arrived from RGC in the summer of 2018 but never made a senior outing for the region.

A number of high-profile signings are heading for Major League Rugby including former France centre Mathieu Bastareaud, ex-Wales lock Dominic Day, five-times capped England back row forward Steffon Armitage and former Australia back Digby Ioane.