Tag Archives: gwent

Welsh fly-half Ceri Sweeney will join Exeter at the end of the season

Sweeney to swap Cardiff for Exeter in bid to make his mark on Premiership

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

10:36 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 10 March 2013

Former Wales fly-half Ceri Sweeney will join Exeter at the end of the season, his current club Cardiff Blues have announced.

Sweeney has made over 100 appearances since joining the Blues from Newport Gwent Dragons in the summer of 2008, guiding them to the EDF Energy Cup in 2009 and the Amlin Challenge Cup the following year.

'I've really enjoyed my time with the Blues, they are a fantastic club and the supporters have been outstanding,' he said.

Talent: Ceri Sweeney played in the 2003 World Cup for Wales

Talent: Ceri Sweeney played in the 2003 World Cup for Wales

'For me, it's my home region and with the young players they have coming through the ranks, the future of the club certainly looks very bright.'

The 33-year-old will bring a wealth of experience with him to Sandy Park.

He made his debut for Wales in the 2003 Six Nations against England and also featured in two World Cups, winning a total of 35 caps for his club – the last of them in 2007.

Key man: Sweeney won 35 caps for his country in his international career

Key man: Sweeney won 35 caps for his country in his international career

Sweeney is now excited to make his mark in the Aviva Premiership.

'Exeter are a fantastic club and as soon as I heard they were interested in me, I was keen to talk to them and have a look around the place,' he added.

'Like a lot of people, I've watched how they have risen over the last few years and how they've made a real name for themselves, not just in the Premiership, but in Europe as well.

Longevity: Only the career of Stephen Jones prevented him from more caps

Longevity: Only the career of Stephen Jones prevented him from more caps

'It's an exciting move for me and my young family and it's a fresh challenge.

'I know it will be the first time I've played club rugby outside of Wales, but the thought of testing myself in the Premiership is something I'm really keen to do.'

Sam Warbuton will stay loyal to Cardiff Blues

Warbuton will follow Cuthbert's lead and stay loyal to Cardiff

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 22 December 2012

Sam Warburton is set to emulate Alex Cuthbert by securing his future in Wales with Cardiff Blues.

The Wales captain has been reassured over the club’s ambitions after they tied down Cuthbert for the next three years and he says he is ready to commit to his home team ‘for life’ when his current deal ends after next season.

Warburton, 24, said: ‘I would love to stay at the Blues for life and have my testimonial here.

Set to sign: Sam Warburton will commit his future to the Cardiff Blues

Set to sign: Sam Warburton will commit his future to the Cardiff Blues

‘In France you can earn three or four times what you get in Wales, but I would also rather play somewhere I’m happy and getting looked after.

‘It will be interesting to see the detail in the new WRU plans and what incentives they come up with to keep players at the regions.’

One of the main aims of the newly formed Professional Regional Game Board in Wales is to help the four Welsh teams hold on to their top players.

Newport Gwent Dragons director of rugby Rob Beale says they could help the club keep Toby Faletau, who will also be out of contract after next season.

Beale said: ‘If that is a stated aim then they have got to be involved in how we set about keeping Toby.’

Dan Lydiate o leave Newport Gwent Dragons for undisclosed European team

Lydiate latest Wales player to depart for France with flanker set for undisclosed European team

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

18:28 GMT, 5 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:30 GMT, 5 December 2012

Dan Lydiate will join the continuing exodus of Wales players to France at the end of this season, but a similar mass migration of leading England stars appears to have been averted, for now.

Newport Gwent Dragons have confirmed that the 24-year-old flanker, who was Six Nations Player of the tournament last season, is leaving to join ‘an undisclosed European team’.

That team is thought to be Parisian club, Racing Metro, who are also recruiting Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts, along with Northampton props Brian Mujati and Soane Tonga’uiha.

Channel hopping: Dan Lydiate will join a European club next season

Channel hopping: Dan Lydiate will join a European club next season

However, it appears that the riches on offer across the Channel are not enticing England’s finest to abandon their Test careers with a home World Cup looming in 2015.

While a case could be made for Toulon pair Steffon Armitage and Andrew Sheridan to be recalled by Stuart Lancaster, the national coach is abiding by the RFU’s edict against selected overseas-based players and the hard-line stance appears to be having the desired effect.

Of the 15 players who started for England in last Saturday’s historic victory over the All Blacks at Twickenham, 13 are contracted to their Aviva Premiership clubs until at least the end of next season.

The same applies to other high-profile figures such as Ben Foden, Dylan Hartley, Toby Flood and Courtney Lawes.

With the age-profile of Lancaster’s side being so young, most of those in the Red Rose ranks appear content to stay put and continue to enhance their Test credentials. Just last month, the Youngs brothers – Ben and Tom, agreed new three-year deals with Leicester.

The two players who are coming out of contract at the end of the current campaign are Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling. While Corbisiero is understood to be poised for a move away from London Irish, his likely destination is Northampton.

Out of contract: Geoff Parling (second right) is considering his options

Out of contract: Geoff Parling (second right) is considering his options

Leicester lock Parling is considering his options and his Tigers director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, said: ‘For someone like Geoff Parling, who is out of contract, he has come from Newcastle and now he is starting for England. He will get offers bigger than ours, so it will be down to the good will of the player to say he likes playing for you, that he is really happy here trying to win something and that he will take 25 per cent less than he could get somewhere else.’

There is a strong possibility that Parling will choose to stay at Welford Road, but less likelihood of a further Welsh exodus being averted.

Cardiff Blues wing Alex Cuthbert – who was being paid just 15,000 per year at the time he was playing a key role in a Grand Slam triumph last season – is out of contract at the end of this season and once again he will be pursued by wealthy French suitors.

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees is set to buck the trend by staying in regional rugby, with a summer switch to the Blues under consideration, but there is talk of several Wales players taking French lessons, in readiness for a move to a Gallic club.

Home comforts: Matthew Rees is likely to play his club rugby in Wales

Home comforts: Matthew Rees is likely to play his club rugby in Wales

The likes of Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Luke Charteris, James Hook and Lee Byrne are already playing in the Top 14 league, but Wales coach Warren Gatland has expressed concerns about the fitness training regimes over there.

‘Against New Zealand, Mike Phillips was blowing after 52 minutes – we had to get him off,’ said the Kiwi. ‘If they go to France, they take a risk that they won’t reach our standards and expectations.

‘They have a different philosophy and attitude in France. They’ve got quality players but their preparation and approach to everything is different. They tend to have one fitness coach who puts the programme up on the board and it is not monitored as heavily as it is in the UK and Ireland. That’s something we have to look at.

'Are they physically in the best shape to compete at the highest level even though they might be playing quite well in France’

Wales v Argentina: Aaron Jarvis handed debut, Mike Phillips overlooked

Jarvis handed Wales debut while Phillips overlooked for Knoyle against Argentina

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UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 6 November 2012

Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis will make his Wales debut in Saturday's autumn Test series opener against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley has also sprung a major surprise at scrum-half by selecting Tavis Knoyle ahead of British and Irish Lions Test No 9 Mike Phillips.

Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull wears the No 6 shirt with Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones both sidelined through injury, with Gethin Jenkins packing down in the front-row for his 91st cap alongside former Wales skipper Matthew Rees and Jarvis, who replaces an injured Adam Jones.

Day to remember: Aaron Jarvis will line up in Wales' front row on Saturday

Day to remember: Aaron Jarvis will line up in Wales' front row on Saturday

Injury also sidelines centre Jonathan Davies (groin), so his Scarlets colleague Scott Williams deputises and partners Jamie Roberts in midfield.

There are seven changes from Wales' last game – a 20-19 defeat to Australia in Sydney last June – with Williams, Roberts, Knoyle, Jarvis, lock Ian Evans, Turnbull and No 8 Toby Faletau all starting.

Wales team v Argentina

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Toulon), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Bath), R McCusker (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne), J Hook (Perpignan), L Williams (Scarlets).

Bayonne star Phillips has to be
content with a place on the bench alongside his fellow France-based back
James Hook, but Ospreys centre Ashley Beck was not considered for the
match-day 23 due to a hip problem.

Fly-half Rhys Priestland, meanwhile, has seen off the challenges of Hook and Ospreys' in-form Dan Biggar to retain the playmaker role, with Howley retaining a potent back-three of Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and George North.

Exeter-born Jarvis, who has a Welsh
grandmother, has been in strong form for the Ospreys this season and he
impressed the Wales coaching staff during last week's training camp in
Poland.

'One or two injuries have forced our hands in certain areas in terms of selection,' Howley said.

'But
the fact that we are still able to field a side packed with Grand Slam
experience shows that we have been able to develop some depth in recent
years.

Given the nod: Scrum-half Tavis Knoyle

Overlooked: Mike Phillips

Given the nod: Tavis Knoyle (left) plays at scrum half ahead of Mike Phillips (right)

'There are obvious opportunities for the likes of Aaron, Tavis and Josh to pull on the jersey against Argentina and try to make it their own.

'We all know how important a good start against the Pumas will be to our November series. They arrive battle-hardened after a tough Rugby Championship campaign.

'They will be looking to silence the Millennium Stadium crowd from the outset and we know we can't afford to let that happen, with a successful campaign this autumn vital to our ambitions for the future.'

After Argentina, reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Wales face Samoa six days later before tackling World Cup holders New Zealand on November 24, followed by a December 1 appointment with Australia.

The top four teams in the International Rugby Board world rankings at the end of the autumn Tests will secure top seedings for the 2015 World Cup pools, which will be drawn in London early next month.

Lloyd Burns forced to retire

Wales and Dragons hooker Burns forced to retire due to aorta damage

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 11 April 2012

Wales hooker Lloyd Burns has been forced to retire from rugby with immediate effect.

The Newport Gwent Dragons forward, who has won seven caps and was part of Wales' World Cup squad in New Zealand last autumn, has been sidelined since January due to a neck injury.

But the Dragons have now revealed that 'ongoing tests' have revealed aorta damage, with possible heart surgery to follow.

Retiring: Burns (right) only broke into the Wales team last year

Retiring: Burns (right) only broke into the Wales team last year

Dragon: Burns leaves his region light up front

Dragon: Burns leaves his region light up front

Burns, 27, made his Wales debut against the Barbarians in Cardiff last June, going on as a second-half replacement for Huw Bennett.

At the time, he was dual-registered with the Dragons and this season's British and Irish Cup finalists Cross Keys.

Dragons director of rugby Robert Beale paid tribute to Burns, and said his enforced retirement had come as 'a massive shock'.

Beale said: 'Everything Lloyd has achieved in life he has earned through hard work and dedication.

'His enforced retirement from the game has come as a massive shock to Lloyd and his family and will resonate throughout the rugby world.

'I am personally relieved that this serious condition has been identified off the field of play.

'I would therefore like to thank our medical team at the Dragons, staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and University of Wales, Cardiff for all their efforts in ensuring Lloyd has, and will continue to receive, the highest standards of care.'

Burns first featured for the Dragons during the 2008/09 season, having played for Pontypool and Cross Keys, but injury meant he could play no part in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship when Wales won the title and clinched a Grand Slam.

Burns went to the World Cup as one of
three hookers in Wales coach Warren Gatland's squad, featuring
alongside Bennett and Ken Owens.

Burns, who worked as a builder before moving full-time into rugby, made four appearances during the World Cup.

On the world stage: Burns features against Namibia in the World Cup

On the world stage: Burns features against Namibia in the World Cup

He started the 81-7 victory over Namibia in New Plymouth, and appeared as a replacement in the pool games against Samoa and Fiji, scoring a try when Fiji were routed 66-0.

What proved to be his final cap came in the bronze medal match against Australia in Auckland, a game that Wales lost 21-18.

He was subsequently advised to take a minimum three-month break from rugby after a neck problem surfaced, which ended his Six Nations hopes this season.

Two of Burns' World Cup colleagues – Wales skipper Sam Warburton and centre Jamie Roberts – paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Warburton said: 'Terrible news, great player and guy, hope recovery goes well.'

And Roberts, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, tweeted: 'Sad news about Lloyd Burns' retirement from rugby….great player, good bloke….here's to a speedy recovery.'

Six nations 2012: Sam Warburton returns for Wales to face France

Warburton returns for Wales as Dragons go in search of historic Six Nations Grand Slam

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UPDATED:

13:31 GMT, 15 March 2012

Wales have received a huge boost for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam clash against France in Cardiff after captain Sam Warburton was declared fit.

Warburton will replace flanker Justin Tipuric as the only change following last weekend's victory over Italy.

Cardiff Blues star Warburton was sent off when the countries last met in a gripping World Cup semi-final at Auckland's Eden Park five months ago.

D-Day: Warburton has been passed fit to face France for the Six Nations showdown in Cardiff

D-Day: Warburton has been passed fit to face France for the Six Nations showdown in Cardiff

France triumphed 9-8, but they were outplayed by Wales for long periods of a game that saw them reduced to 14 men after just 18 minutes when Warburton was dismissed following a dangerous tackle on Les Bleus wing Vincent Clerc.

Warburton has played just 120 minutes' rugby in the Six Nations this season.

He was forced off at half-time during the opening weekend victory over Ireland due to a thigh injury, then sat out Scotland's Millennium Stadium visit before a knee problem suffered against England at Twickenham sidelined him for Italy.

But the 23-year-old's return is critical
to a Wales team seeking coach Warren Gatland's second Six Nations title
and Grand Slam of his four-year reign.

Prop Gethin Jenkins sees leadership
duties passed back to Warburton, while hooker Matthew Rees, who missed
the World Cup because of a neck injury that required surgery, wins his
50th cap.

Back in action: Warburton led the side to the Triple Crown at Twickenham

Back in action: Warburton led the side to the Triple Crown at Twickenham

Wales team to play France

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).

The Wales back division, one that has scored all nine of Wales' Six Nations tries this term, is unchanged for a fifth successive Test match.

Tipuric, meanwhile, misses out on the match-day 22, with Wales' 2008 Grand Slam skipper Ryan Jones providing back-row cover, and scrum-half Lloyd Williams returns among the replacements instead of Rhys Webb, who made his Test debut against Italy.

Gatland's solidity in selection is underlined by the fact that 10 players in action on Saturday will start their fifth successive Six Nations game this term.

Gatland said: 'In camp, all we can and must do is make preparations as normal. The magnitude of the game is not lost on us, but it is irrelevant to how we prepare.

'We have our captain back, and although Justin Tipuric is unlucky after playing well in his place last week, Sam's presence is a welcome boost to everyone We are obviously aware of what this game means to the fans.

'60,000 of them came to the Millennium Stadium during the Rugby World Cup to watch us face France in the semi-final on the television screens, and that tells you everything about how dedicated they are.

'But this weekend we play in front of a sell-out 74,500 crowd with a chance to make history in Cardiff, and they will be there to watch us in the flesh.

'They can make a real and positive contribution to the atmosphere and, like us, will be thinking of nothing other than the here and now.'

High flyer: Wales can seal their second Grand Slam under Gatland on Saturday

High flyer: Wales can seal their second Grand Slam under Gatland on Saturday

Dragons forfeit LV= Cup game with Saracens and receive suspended 10,000 fine

Dragons forfeit LV= Cup game with Saracens and receive suspended 10,000 fine

Newport Gwent Dragons have received a 10,000 suspended fine and forfeited last Friday's LV= Cup game with Saracens.

The punishment, announced by tournament organisers following consultation by the competition's organising committee, relates to the postponement against the English champions at Rodney Parade.

The committee ruled the Dragons were in breach of regulation 6.7 in that the pitch was unplayable, and no suitable alternative arrangements were in place.

Forfeited: Newport Gwent Dragons are out of the LV= Cup

Forfeited: Newport Gwent Dragons are out of the LV= Cup

It was also decided that Sarries would be awarded the fixture by a 20-0 scoreline.

The suspended fine will be in place until next season's LV= Cup pool phase is completed.

In a statement, cup organisers said: 'The LV= organising committee accepted that there was no intention to gain any advantage by the pitch being unplayable and that preventative measures were put in place.

'However, the LV= Cup regulations are clear in that it is the home team's responsibility to ensure they can stage the fixture, as outlined in regulation 6.7.'

Exeter 3 Bath 31: Biggs hat-trick sends Bath into LV= Cup semi-final

Exeter 3 Bath 31: Biggs hat-trick helps Bath reach LV= Cup semi-final

A first-half hat-trick from wing Tom Biggs helped Bath secure a home LV= Cup semi-final match against Leicester after a comfortable victory over a weakened Exeter at Sandy Park.

The visitors top Pool 1 of the competition and the result of the Newport v Gwent Dragons game against Saracens, which fell victim to the weather on Friday night, is now irrelevant.

Second row James Hanks, who only returned to first-team duty during last weekend's win at Wasps following a knee injury, led the Chiefs as loosehead prop Ben Moon returned to the fold after injury.

Hero: Tom Biggs grabbed a hat-trick

Hero: Tom Biggs grabbed a hat-trick

There were also first starts of the season for tighthead prop Chris Budgen, Samoan international scrum-half Junior Poluleuligaga and academy youngster Jack Arnott on the left wing.

Bath included hooker Lee Mears for his first start since returning from injury, lock Dave Attwood and centre Matt Banahan in their starting line-up after they were released earlier in the week from the England squad.

The visitors took the lead after seven minutes as Biggs chased a chip through from full-back Sam Vesty, but he looked to have been tackled off the ball by centre Bryan Rennie.

Welsh referee Neil Hennessey referred the decision to television match official Tony Spreadbury and, after a long deliberation, the try was awarded with centre Olly Barkley adding the extras.

Stop: Bath's Nick Scott is brought to a halt

Stop: Bath's Nick Scott is brought to a halt

Spreadbury was called into action five minutes later as centre Sam Hill charged down a kick from Bath fly-half Stephen Donald before hacking on, but it was adjudged that wing Olly Woodburn beat him to the touchdown.

Bath increased their lead when Donald chipped through for Biggs to touch down for his second try, but Barkley was off target with the conversion and the Chiefs hit back through a Myles Dorrian penalty.

Biggs completed his hat-trick on the half hour as he intercepted a pass by Dorrian and ran in from 60 metres. Barkley added the extras for a 19-3 interval lead.

After some scrappy play from both sides at the start of the second half, Chiefs were awarded a penalty 10 metres out in front of the posts.

They opted for a scrum, but Bath were able to clear their lines.

Clear: Warren Fury smashes the ball away

Clear: Warren Fury smashes the ball away

Bath used the same option a couple of minutes later when they were pressing the Chiefs line after hooker Chris Whitehead had been sent to the sin-bin, but the home side were also able to clear.

After an injury to Chris Cook, the visitors gave a debut to Welsh international scrum-half Warren Fury, who recently agreed a three-month deal with the club.

The visitors secured maximum points from their four pool games as their bonus-point try came on the hour when flanker Guy Mercer gave the final pass to right wing Olly Woodburn to touchdown.

The Chiefs were forced to play the final six minutes with 14 men when Rennie was carded.

And replacement flanker Josh Ovens made the extra man count when he crashed over for Bath's fifth try, Barkley adding the extras to complete the scoring.

Six Nations 2012: Gavin Henson named in Wales squad

Henson handed chance of Six Nations recall as Wales name squad for countdown

Gavin Henson could be in line for a first RBS 6 Nations appearance since 2009 after being included in head coach Warren Gatland's 35-man training squad.

The 29-year-old Cardiff Blues back has not featured for his country since dislocating a bone in his wrist in the pre-World Cup friendly victory over England, and has played just three games for his region since joining in October.

Despite his lack of action, Henson is rated highly by the Wales coaching team and his ability to cover at fly-half, centre and full-back makes him a valuable commodity.

Welcome back: Gavin Henson has impressed for Cardiff Blues

Welcome back: Gavin Henson has impressed for Cardiff Blues

Wales training squad

Forwards: C Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), P James (Ospreys), R Gill (Saracens), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), M Rees (Scarlets), H Bennett (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), I Evans (Ospreys), L Reed (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Sale Sharks).

Backs: M Phillips (Bayonne), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Webb (Ospreys), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), G Henson (Cardiff Blues), A Beck (Ospreys), G North (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), H Robinson (Cardiff Blues), L Williams (Scarlets), L /01/18/article-2088296-0F83193F00000578-983_468x314.jpg” width=”468″ height=”314″ alt=”Call-up: Harry Robinson (centre) is included at the age of 18″ class=”blkBorder” />

Call-up: Harry Robinson (centre) is included at the age of 18

Challenge: Coach Warren Gatland

Challenge: Coach Warren Gatland

There was no place, meanwhile, for Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones. The 34-year-old has won a record 104 caps for his country but his latest non-selection following his omission from the squad to face Australia in December suggests his Test career may be at an end.

Gatland said: ;We have had to strike a balance with this squad. The majority are those players who excelled for Wales during the Rugby World Cup, but we are also taking the opportunity to look at one or two youngsters before probably cutting our numbers even further before the start of the RBS 6 Nations.

'We have kept a couple of older heads and we have injuries, with Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Turnbull, Rob McCusker and Luke Charteris all unavailable to us, but the emphasis on development and planning for the future is there for everyone to see.

'These are exciting times for Welsh rugby. We showed a huge amount of potential at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and we'll be working as hard as humanly possible to ensure we reach our potential in this year's Six Nations Championship.'

Luke Charteris to leave Newport Gwent Dragons

Wales star Charteris to end eight-year stay with Dragons

Time

Time”s up: Charteris will leave the Dragons at the end of the season

Wales lock Luke Charteris is to leave the Newport Gwent Dragons at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old, who has been with the Dragons since the inception of regional rugby in 2003, was one of the stand-out performers during Wales” recent march to the World Cup semi-finals, including a towering individual display in the quarter-final win over Ireland which saw him make a remarkable 16 tackles in the first half before being forced off with an injury.

With the 6ft 9in forward”s contract running out at the end of the season he had been heavily linked with a move away from Rodney Parade, and he will leave to join an undisclosed European team, with French side Perpignan, home of fellow Wales international James Hook, the favourites to land his signature.

“I”ve really enjoyed my time at the Dragons,” Charteris said.

“I have had some amazing team-mates here and the coaching team have been really good to me.

“However, being a professional rugby player gives an opportunity to travel and see the world which I feel I can”t pass up.

“The chance to live in a different country and enjoy a new culture and way of life is one not everybody gets. A player”s career doesn”t last forever and I want to experience as much as I can.

“I have always been very clear that if I was to stay in Wales it would be with the Dragons. This is my region and it has been a really difficult decision to decide to move on.

“I”m only 28 and I see the Dragons as my home team so after a stint abroad I could perhaps come back a better player to Rodney Parade.

“I”d like to thank everybody at the Dragons who has helped and supported me through the ups and downs and especially the Dragons fans. We are really lucky at Rodney Parade to have the supporters we do.