Sam Warburton: Dragons have struck gold with Andy Powell signing

9:13am Thursday 3rd July 2014

SAM Warburton believes Newport Gwent Dragons have pulled off a masterstroke by bringing number eight Andy Powell back to Wales.

The 32-year-old, who won 23 caps for Wales and toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009, has signed a one-year deal with the Dragons.

Powell has not played since suffering a neck injury when playing rugby league for Wigan Warriors last September but Warburton doesn't doubt he will be a success at Rodney Parade.

The Cardiff Blues openside flanker played alongside the number eight for club and country and expects Powell to make a big impact on both the pitch and the training paddock.

"It's an awesome move and a great signing by the Dragons," said Warburton. "To have Andy, Toby Faletau and Lewis Evans, that's a really tasty back row

"With the other signings they have made this summer the Dragons will be even more competitive this year and I am sure they will have a good season.

"It's great that players are coming back to Wales and everybody who has met Andy loves him.

"He will be a great addition for the Dragons and you know that he will bring aggression and physicality.

"Andy is also a really good trainer and that will rub off on the rest of the guys. He spends a lot of time in the gym and on the training pitch doing extras, so is a great player to have in the squad."

Meanwhile, the Dragons will not learn their third opponents in the Rugby Challenge Cup until September 27 – three weeks before the start of the competition.

They have been drawn with Stade Francais and Newcastle in Pool Three along with a second-tier qualifier.

Teams from Georgia, Portugal, Romania and Russia are set to play over two legs on September 6 and 13 for the right to take on the top two of Italy's domestic league, Rovigo and Calvisano, for a spot in the Challenge Cup.

The second leg of that decider is on the last weekend of September with the first game of the European campaign taking place on the weekend of October 16.

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