9:00am Saturday 14th June 2014
Exclusive By Chris Kirwan
HEAD coach Kingsley Jones doesn't expect new recruit Andy Powell to be a one-season wonder at Newport Gwent Dragons.
The former Wales and Lions back row forward has signed a one-year deal to return to rugby union with the Dragons after a short spell in league with Wigan.
Powell, who will be 33 when the season gets under way, has not taken to the field since suffering a neck injury last September but has already been grafting away at the region's new training base in Ystrad Mynach.
And his new head coach believes the number eight will shine at the Dragons and will soon be knocking on director of rugby Lyn Jones' door looking for a contract extension.
"Andy has signed a one-year deal but I believe we can get a couple of really good seasons out of him," said Kingsley Jones.
"If he works hard, which I am sure he will because he is already chomping at the bit, then he will be a really big asset for the region.
"There is plenty of rugby left in Andy and he can become a regular in the team because he has always been a handful for the teams that I have coached against him.
"The stigma that follows Andy around is that he can be trouble because of the odd daft thing that he has done (off the field) but he is a really positive, happy guy.
"I asked my friends and former colleagues at Sale and they said he was really good for them and they regretted losing him to rugby league (last year).
"He's come back at a good age and it's up to him how much he achieves here."
Powell will provide extra competition for places at number eight and blindside flanker and his presence will be needed when international duty deprives the Dragons of Taulupe Faletau and Netani Talei.
"He's here to carry hard and give us go-forward," said Jones. "Toby does that in a different way with quick footwork but we didn't really have a big, direct, robust carrier last season.
"Andy definitely has an x-factor and I know he is really excited about playing for the Dragons after starting out at Newport. He's from Powys but he very much sees himself as a Gwent boy."
Ieuan Jones and Jevon Groves left the Dragons at the end of the season, meaning Powell will be asked to cover six along with Talei, Wales lock Andrew Coombs and Lewis Evans, who can play across the back row.
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