8:00am Wednesday 5th February 2014
By Chris Kirwan
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have moved to shore up their creaking scrum by signing experienced Leicester prop Boris Stankovich.
The 34-year-old loosehead, who has won three Premiership titles with the Tigers, has penned a two-year contract with the Rodney Parade region.
Stankovich is well versed in the dark arts and will add some much-needed grunt to the Dragons' pack from next season.
The New Zealand-born prop has racked up a century of appearances in a powerful Tigers pack, battling for starts with Argentina's Marcos Ayerza and Samoa's Logo Mulipola, and will be a welcome older head in an inexperienced tight five.
"The opportunity to play in Wales at Newport Gwent Dragons under both (director of rugby) Lyn Jones and (forwards coach) Kingsley Jones is certainly one I am very much looking forward to," said Stankovich, who follows Wales stars Aled Brew and Lee Byrne in penning deals with the region.
"The Dragons are an ambitious club and the region as a whole has been an integral part to Welsh rugby over the years. Something I will be proud of representing over the next two seasons."
The Dragons have struggled in the set piece for a number of seasons but January has been especially demoralising with Bath, Northampton and Newcastle all shunting them backwards at a rate of knots.
Lyn Jones has spoken about wanting to foster a "culture of scrummaging" at the region and London Scottish head coach James Buckland, another former Leicester front rower, has been working with the region on a consultancy basis.
Aaron Coundley, Owen Evans, Phil Price, Nathan Williams and Hugh Gustafson have all been given a chance at loosehead but nobody has made the number 1 jersey their own.
"We are delighted to have made such an experienced addition in Boris, who has been a member of a very impressive Leicester scrum," said Lyn Jones.
"He is going to bring vast knowledge and experience to the front row department. Currently we are young and inexperienced.
"Boris' guidance and leadership within this department will be crucial in helping our growth, we are convinced we have signed the right man."
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