Dragons snap up young lock Cory Hill
3:01pm Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Sport
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are set to sign promising lock Cory Hill on a three-year contract, writes Chris Kirwan.
The former Wales Under-20s captain has agreed to move to Rodney Parade from English Championship club Moseley, who he joined last summer after being released by Cardiff Blues.
The paperwork is still being processed but the 21-year-old will soon bolster the Dragons' ranks at second row, competing for places with skipper Andrew Coombs, Matthew Screech, Adam Jones and Robert Sidoli.
With Coombs on Wales duty and Screech rested after playing nine times this season, the Dragons are set to put 17-year-old Academy prospect and Newport High School pupil Joe Davies on their bench against the Scarlets in the LV= Cup on Friday.
But Hill, who suffered a minor bump playing in Moseley's Championship win against Ealing last weekend, will soon be in the mix.
"I like Cory's attitude and his youthfulness," said director of rugby Lyn Jones. "Rugby is a young man's game and him and Matthew Screech are going to have a big future at the Dragons.
"We have invested time into Screech and by the end of the season he will be an established regional player. He has played and is making mistakes but learning all the time.
"That's what it's all about and I am sure Cory will develop very quickly, but he hasn't played much rugby yet."
Hill will be hoping to make as big an impact with the Dragons as Screech, who was his second row partner in the 2012 Junior World Championship in South Africa.
The pair were both released by Cardiff Blues at the end of last season and Screech earned a deal at Rodney Parade thanks to catching the eye in pre-season training. He has featured more than any other lock in the opening month of the season.
Meanwhile, a host of young guns have been added to the squad for Friday's encounter in Llanelli (kick-off 7.30pm).
Key figures such as scrum-half Richie Rees, fly-half Jason Tovey and back row forward Lewis Evans are among those given the weekend off.
Dragons academy products Davies, Tyler Morgan (centre, 18), Ashton Hewitt (wing, 18), Elliot Dee (hooker, 19), Scott Matthews (openside, 19), Ollie Griffiths (openside, 18) and James Benjamin (back row, 19) are in contention.
Two sons of coaches could also make their Dragons bows – Lyn Jones' boy Luc and forwards coach Kingsley Jones' lad Rhys, a scrum-half and utility back respectively.
Scrum-half Wayne Evans is poised for his first start of the season while Kris Burton and Steffan Jones are vying to be his half-back partner.
Teams from Pool One take on rivals from Pool Four in the LV= Cup with the Dragons hosting Northampton and travelling to Newcastle in January after their Scarlets and Wasps encounters.
They will be battling with Gloucester, London Irish and Saracens for a place in the semi-finals.
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