Lee Byrne linked with move to Dragons

Campaign Series: Clermont Auvergen's Lee Byrne (left) is tackled by Toulon's Matt Giteau during the Heineken Cup Final match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2013. See PA story RUGBYU Final. Photo credit Clermont Auvergen's Lee Byrne (left) is tackled by Toulon's Matt Giteau during the Heineken Cup Final match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2013. See PA story RUGBYU Final. Photo credit

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have been linked with a shock move for Wales and Lions full-back Lee Byrne, writes Chris Kirwan.

French newspaper Midi Olympique reported yesterday that the 33-year-old from Bridgend could head to Rodney Parade from European heavyweights Clermont Auvergne.

He is out of contract in the summer and it has been speculated that he will turn down offers from Bordeaux-Begles and Castres to return to Wales.

Byrne’s quality is not in doubt and he played under Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones at the Ospreys.

However, the region’s priority would appear to be signing some experience in the front five and they currently have three full-backs on their books.

Hallam Amos, Dan Evans and Tom Prydie have all been capped by Wales while fly-half Jason Tovey can also cover the position and Cross Keys' Wales sevens international Rhys Jones featured at 15 in the LV= Cup.

Nonethess, if Byrne was keen to come to the Dragons and a deal could be worked out then it would be an impressive signing.

The left-footer has been a huge success at the Stade Marcel Michelin since signing from the Ospreys in 2011 but his exploits in the Top 14 have not led to him becoming a key figure on the international stage.

Byrne won the last of his 46 caps against Fiji in the 2011 World Cup and was an unused member of last season’s Six Nations squad.

Warren Gatland has stuck with his triumvirate of Leigh Halfpenny, George North and Alex Cuthbert while Liam Williams and Amos featured in the back three this autumn.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Mike Phillips has signed a deal to join up with Wales teammates Dan Lydiate and Jamie Roberts at Racing Metro.

The 31-year-old has joined the big-spending Parisians after he was sacked by Bayonne following accusations of that he turned up to training under the influence of drink.

Phillips, who headed over the Channel from the Ospreys in 2011, was suspended by the Top 14 outfit last season following a late night out.

However, the 80-times capped scrum-half will remain in France after penning a contract with Racing Metro, who are having an underwhelming season after splashing the cash in the summer.

They sit in eighth place and will look to press on in the second half of the season given that they boast the likes of Lydiate, Roberts, Jonny Sexton, Brian Mujati, Soane Tonga’uiha, Benjamin Fall and Juan Martin Hernandez in their ranks.

Phillips will fight for the number 9 jersey with France international Maxime Machenaud.

Comments (5)

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11:11pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Dragonsfan81 says...

Would be a buy for the dragons if this is correct! But i do think we definitely need to strength up our front 5 instead!
Would be a buy for the dragons if this is correct! But i do think we definitely need to strength up our front 5 instead! Dragonsfan81

10:48am Tue 3 Dec 13

saltheartfoamfollower says...

Nip this silly rumour in the bud now.He's at the end of his career and IMO only looking to boost his pension pot.Why cast doubt in the minds of the players who are adequately filling the 15 spot at present.Any monies that are available should be put to better use i.e.. strengthening the front five that on occasions is sorely needed.Sid bless him isn't going to last for ever.
Nip this silly rumour in the bud now.He's at the end of his career and IMO only looking to boost his pension pot.Why cast doubt in the minds of the players who are adequately filling the 15 spot at present.Any monies that are available should be put to better use i.e.. strengthening the front five that on occasions is sorely needed.Sid bless him isn't going to last for ever. saltheartfoamfollower

11:50am Tue 3 Dec 13

bucks says...

Got to sign a big name soon - can't stay in the shadow of the County much longer.
Got to sign a big name soon - can't stay in the shadow of the County much longer. bucks

2:50pm Tue 3 Dec 13

wetwipe says...

Totally agree,Saltheart.Whii
st Byrne is (?was) a talented player,our priority must be to add to the quality of the front five.SId is a Rodney icon - we need more like him.
Totally agree,Saltheart.Whii st Byrne is (?was) a talented player,our priority must be to add to the quality of the front five.SId is a Rodney icon - we need more like him. wetwipe

10:50pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Casnewydd lad says...

bucks wrote:
Got to sign a big name soon - can't stay in the shadow of the County much longer.
I hope you are not talking about newport county football? Rodney parade is home of rugby first and always will be, it's great newport county are doing well an dare sharing the ground it boosts local businesses around that area, please don't be a typical football head and think it's all about football at the parade.
[quote][p][bold]bucks[/bold] wrote: Got to sign a big name soon - can't stay in the shadow of the County much longer.[/p][/quote]I hope you are not talking about newport county football? Rodney parade is home of rugby first and always will be, it's great newport county are doing well an dare sharing the ground it boosts local businesses around that area, please don't be a typical football head and think it's all about football at the parade. Casnewydd lad

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