ANDY Powell is looking forward to serving up humble pie to the doubters who believe the powerhouse number eight has headed to Newport Gwent Dragons for a last hurrah.
The former Wales and Lions back row forward is training hard at the region's new base in Ystrad Mynach as he works towards a return to action after almost a year on the sidelines.
The 32-year-old has not played a game since suffering a neck injury playing for Wigan Warriors last September, a blow that ruled him out of contention for the Rugby League World Cup.
The Dragons have brought him back to union on a one-year deal but Powell insists this is no swansong before hanging his boots up.
He said: "I've got loads left in the tank, believe me. I had eight months of doing nothing because of my neck injury but give me four weeks and I'll be chomping at the bit and out there like a racehorse.
"I have been around for a while and a lot of people say I'm too old, but there's no chance of that. I still feel young, fit, fast and powerful.
"A lot of people can knock you but I'm looking forward to the challenge here and proving them wrong.
"I'm not looking back, I want to make an impact here and show my qualities."
Powell, who won 23 caps between 2008 and 2012, has been signed to battle with Taulupe Faletau and Netani Talei for the starts at number eight and blindside flanker.
Head coach Kingsley Jones is looking forward to having an abrasive option – "we didn't really have a big, direct, robust carrier last season" – but the new recruit is at pains to stress there's much more to his game than the rough and tumble.
"Ball carrying is my biggest asset but I've been brought in for my work rate, skill set, offloading and all-round game," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the competition for places and I'm not going to be sitting back – I want that start, wherever it is in the back row. That's the attitude that Kingsley and Lyn (Jones, coaches) want from every individual in the squad."
- The Dragons' early bird season ticket offer, with prices starting at £99, ends on Monday.