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  • "Is it a reflection on the demise of heavy manual industry that Gwent no longer produces the string of hard, uncompromising front row forwards we were once famous for, certainly in my day every Gwent club had someone who would try to rip you limb from limb at scrum time. Maybe it is that society has gone soft.
    l have been surprised that it has taken so long to start looking to the east, would have thought there were a few likely candidates."
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Dragons invite Russian prop for trial

First published in Sport

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have invited Russian tighthead prop Andrei Igretsov to join them for a trial, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 28-year-old front row forward, who has been capped 14 times, will head to Rodney Parade for the final few months of the season if he can secure a visa.

Igretsov has impressed his national boss Kingsley Jones, who is Dragons forwards coach, and will get the chance to experience a professional environment if he gets the green light from the immigration authorities.

It is highly unlikely, however, that the Slava Moscow prop will become a frontline player for the region next season even if he does well.

Igretsov would need time to become accustomed to a higher level of rugby, not to mention cultural changes, and an option may be to sign him up and see how he fares on permit for another club.

But another player getting the chance to develop his skills in the UK would be a boost for Jones' Russia, who are involved in the playoffs to earn a place in Wales, England and Australia's group at next year's World Cup.

The Dragons currently have tightheads Dan Way, Francisco Chaparro and Nathan Buck on their books but it is the experienced pair of former Scotland prop and ex-England front rower Duncan Bell that are in the matchday squad for tomorrow's clash with Connacht.

The duo signed on deals until the end of the season to cover an injury crisis, the former arriving on loan from Bristol and the latter being tempted out of retirement.

Director of rugby Lyn Jones has already signed up Leicester loosehead Boris Stankovich for next season and wants to add another seasoned tighthead to his roster.

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