SEAN Lonsdale is heading to the English Championship with Ealing Trailfinders after two seasons as a dependable and durable constant in the Dragons pack.

The 26-year-old flanker/lock will play in England’s second tier for the champions after being released by the Rodney Parade club.

The Dragons have bolstered their back row with Tongan number eight Solomone Funaki and Wales blindside Shane Lewis-Hughes, who has also impressed with his maul defence at lock for Cardiff this season.

They already have Wales back rowers Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham, influential Harri Keddie, dynamic but injury-prone Ollie Griffiths, rising star Ryan Woodman and youngster George Young as options.

Former Wales and Lions blindside Dan Lydiate could also have another season while mixing playing with mentoring and coaching if a deal can be struck.

South Wales Argus: Dragons forward Sean Lonsdale on the charge at GlasgowDragons forward Sean Lonsdale on the charge at Glasgow (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

However, the decision to allow Lonsdale to move on is something of a gamble given how frequently he has played for the club since signing from Exeter in the summer of 2022.

There are undoubtedly more dynamic back rowers on the books yet no player has featured more for the Dragons than Lonsdale in the two seasons he has spent at the club.

The forward, who was educated in Colwyn Bay and played for RGC before earning a chance at the Chiefs, has made 38 appearances out of a possible 44 since arriving at Rodney Parade.

Lonsdale played in 19 of 23 games last season (and was an unused substitute once) and is currently on 19 of 21 in the current campaign with the Judgement Day finale against the Scarlets to come.

Only tightheads Lloyd Fairbrother and Chris Coleman could beat his appearances tally last year while fly-half Will Reed, who has missed just one fixture, is the solitary player to beat him in 2023/24, while centre Steff Hughes and scrum-half Dane Blacker have also sat out just two fixtures.

South Wales Argus: REGULAR: Dragons forward Sean Lonsdale is heading for EalingREGULAR: Dragons forward Sean Lonsdale is heading for Ealing (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Lonsdale has also been a regular starter with 26 of his 38 appearances – 13 in each season – in the XV (68 per cent).

Now he is heading back over the border and is excited by a fresh challenge in west London.

Lonsdale said: “I’m very much looking forward to joining Ealing Trailfinders. They’ve proven themselves to be a dominant force in the Championship for a number of years with quality across the board, and I’m excited to see what I can add to the team, whilst challenging myself playing in a different league against different opposition."

Ealing have lost one former Dragon after ex-Wales wing Jonah Holmes moved to English Championship rivals London Scottish in the transition to life after rugby as a building surveyor.

Director of rugby Ben Ward is pleased to have added another seasoned campaigner from Rodney Parade for the bid to defend their title.

"Sean is a great signing for the club going into next season," he said. "He’s experienced at the top level of European and domestic rugby which is an incredibly valuable asset to be able to bring into our squad. I’m looking forward to him starting with us in July."