WALES Sevens speedster Owen Jenkins has signed a permanent deal with the Dragons.

The 26-year-old from Ynysybwl joined the Rodney Parade region for the Celtic Cup last season to tune-up for the World Rugby Sevens Series but made such an impression that he went straight into the senior team.

Jenkins started the Guinness PRO14 opener at Munster and went on to make 11 appearances before an ankle injury in the December derby win against the Scarlets ended his season.

The winger scored a double against Zebre and another against Leinster and will now concentrate fully on the 15-a-side game after earning what the region have called a "long-term" contract.

South Wales Argus:

Jenkins, who made eight appearances for Cardiff Blues, said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity Dragons gave me last summer to come in and join the squad and now the faith they’ve put in me with a contract.

“I’m really excited by where Dragons are going and to be part of the journey going forwards.

“Playing regional rugby has been my goal, but I’m thankful for my time with Wales Sevens as I wouldn’t really have got this chance without them or had all the amazing experiences that playing sevens has given me.”

Dragons boss Dean Ryan frequently praised the speedster, who is son of former Wales and Pontypool hooker Garin, during the first half of the campaign.

The director of rugby is pleased that Jenkins will be in his squad next season to battle for starts with Ashton Hewitt, Jared Rosser, Rio Dyer, Jordan Williams and Will Talbot-Davies, while Wales and Leicester speedster Jonah Holmes is also on the region's radar.

“Owen was given an opportunity with us at the start of the season and has taken it with both hands,” said Ryan.

“He has developed his game in our environment and I’m looking forward to working with him when we return.

“Our thanks go to the Welsh Rugby Union Sevens programme for the support they have given Owen and for allowing him to pursue his ambitions to secure a regional contract.”

South Wales Argus:

Jenkins is seventh in Wales' all-time try chart in the World Rugby Sevens Series with 53 efforts.

He had been earmarked to make a return for the prestigious Hong Kong tournament but the coronavirus pandemic has led to the series being put on hold and the Olympics being pushed back a year.

Gareth Williams, WRU transition coach and former Wales Sevens head coach, said: “It’s fantastic news that Owen is signing a permanent deal with the Dragons.

“It has been a key drive of the sevens programme over the last 10 years to develop players for international and regional rugby.

“Owen, through our close work with the regions, got an opportunity at the Dragons on loan and took full advantage of it.

"I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Owen the last few years, and it has always been his ambition to gain a regional contact to move him forward in his development.

“It’s testament to his resolve and dedication. He took advantage of the intensity of sevens competition and training, and has achieved the next step of his progression.

“It’s a huge credit to him and we wish him the very best at Rodney Parade.”