9:02am Thursday 9th January 2014
BOSS Lyn Jones has pledged that Newport Gwent Dragons will be meticulous as they look to add to their squad after snapping up a pair of Welsh internationals.
The Rodney Parade region yesterday confirmed the signings of full-back Lee Byrne from Clermont Auvergne on a two-year deal and wing Aled Brew from Biarritz on a three-year contract.
The Wales pair are quality signings that will add real spark to the Dragons' back line but adding some grunt up front is still necessary.
Doing that within a tight budget will be a challenge as top props don't come cheap and the Dragons' director of rugby has stressed they won't just make signings for the sake of it.
"We are very happy with the squad and you have to be very careful when it comes to recruitment as it shapes your whole business," said Jones.
"We have got to be meticulous about what we bring in and how we move our squad forward but there are no specific plans at the moment."
Jones declined to comment on whether the arrival of Byrne and Brew would necessitate departures in the back three, notably that of full-back Dan Evans, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
But he believes his latest recruits will help the inexperienced talent in the Dragons ranks, the likes of Hallam Amos, Jack Dixon and Ross Wardle, thrive.
He said: "We have brought in two seasoned campaigners that are consistent in their game. They have lots of experience and can help our younger players grow.
"Aled scores tries and is a firm favourite here while you could argue that Lee is still the best full-back in the UK.
"We are growing as a region and after investing in quality, experienced players we now aim to invest in local talent. It's all about getting that balance right."
Byrne returns to Wales on the back of three hugely successful seasons in France and is relishing the chance to join forces with his former Ospreys mentor.
"I am really pleased to be getting the opportunity to work with Lyn Jones again," he said. "I have a lot of respect for him and I'm looking forward to having the chance to be part of developing a competitive Welsh region in the Dragons."
Brew's time in France has not been quite so enjoyable and his final few months in the Top 14 will comprise of a battle to beat the drop.
But he is relishing the chance to play his trade at Rodney Parade for a third spell with the aim of adding to his nine Wales caps.
"I always wanted return to the Dragons after France given the chance," said the 27-year-old, who holds the regional record of 43 tries.
"I also still have ambition to play for Wales and to do that I know I have to play week in, week-out and that's something I'm determined to do with the Dragons."
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