NEWPORT have signed former Bristol academy prospect Julian Mogg to pull the strings at fly-half in the coming season, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 18-year-old will compete for the Black and Ambers' number 10 jersey with Matt O'Brien after a deal for experienced former Pontypridd outside half Dai Flanagan collapsed.
The 28-year-old had penned a deal to head to Rodney Parade but has hung up his boots after landing a job with the Scarlets academy.
Newport had to move swiftly and have snapped up Englishman Mogg, who arrives from the Bristol Academy and Filton College.
"Julian's a really promising youngster who can control a game and possesses good kicking and distribution," said head coach Sven Cronk.
"He's an up and coming fly-half who wants to play and I am sure his game will develop with us."
The Black and Ambers continue their pre-season preparations when they christen Ealing Trailfinders' new plastic pitch on Saturday.
They head on their travels in fine spirits after winning against the odds at Blackheath last weekend when down to the bare bones for a 90-minute friendly.
New signing Sam Feehan was their only fit back row forward and was joined by hookers Andrew Brown and Evan Whitson as makeshift flankers.
Nonetheless, Newport ran out 18-15 victors thanks to tries by hooker Will Evans, lock Dan Partridge and wing Owen Broad and a penalty by O'Brien.
"The boys really dug in and showed great character, which bodes well," said Cronk.
Cross Keys and Bedwas were also victorious last weekend, beating Esher 10-5 and Bargoed 41-17 respectively.
Ebbw Vale start their preparations when they host Moseley on Saturday as the teams prepare for the British and Irish Cup qualifiers on Saturday, August 30.
Keys host the Steelmen and Newport travel to Bridge Field with the victors clashing a week later for the right to take on Cornish Pirates, Bedford and Doncaster.