TOWERING lock Joe Maksymiw believes he is joining a region on the up after moving to the Dragons on a two-year contract.

The Argus reported in May that the forward, who qualifies for Wales through his maternal grandmother, was set for Rodney Parade from Connacht.

The deal has been confirmed with the 6ft 8ins lock becoming Dean Ryan’s third summer recruit after the arrival of Wales full-back/wing Jonah Holmes from Leicester and year-long loan of Wales centre Nick Tompkins from Saracens.

The 24-year-old lock has started training with the Dragons and will be in the mix for the XV when the PRO14 returns with derbies away to the Ospreys on August 22 and home against the Scarlets the following weekend.

Maksymiw said: “I’m thrilled to have signed for Dragons. The region is clearly on the up so it is an exciting time to be joining and coming to Wales.

“I’m now looking forward to continuing to develop my game under Dean Ryan, Luke Narraway and the other coaches.

“I can’t wait to get stuck in with the lads and start contributing to the region, both on and off the pitch."

Maksymiw, from Loughborough, came through the ranks at Leicester and made 11 appearances for the Tigers before heading for Galway in 2018.

The lock, who also has Irish heritage, made 10 appearances in his first season at the Sportsground and had 15 outings before the coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of this season.

Director of rugby Ryan believes the Dragons have signed a player with plenty of growth.

South Wales Argus:

“We’re really pleased to bring Joe, a Welsh-qualified player, to the region and look forward to him developing in our environment,” said Ryan.

“Joe is hungry to prove himself here, improve as a player and take the opportunity that we have given him with us.”

He will join Matthew Screech and Joe Davies as the senior options in the second row after the departures of Cory Hill and Brandon Nansen.

They will be backed up by up-and-comers Max Williams and Ben Carter plus back rowers Lewis Evans and Huw Taylor, who have moved forward in the past.

Ryan is looking at strengthening the boilerhouse and is monitoring Wales lock Will Rowlands, who is under contract at Wasps.

"We are always interested in quality players," he said. "It’s an interesting and difficult time for every region in terms of their finances but at the same time we’ve got a responsibility as a team to keep developing.

"Every good Welsh player is of interest to us. We want to talk to all of them and it’s a journey on how we will develop.

"Making the Dragons a conversation piece around these players about us being a potential home for them is significant process from where we were last year."