Evans honoured to be Dragons captain
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have appointed flanker Lewis Evans as their captain for the coming season.
The 25-year-old back row forward takes over from Wales lock Luke Charteris, who left the region at the end of the last campaign to pen a big-money deal with Perpignan.
Evans has made 92 Dragons appearances since making his debut in 2006 but none as captain.
Last season the region got through seven skippers – Charteris, Tom Willis, Gavin Thomas, Ashley Smith, Joe Bedford, Wayne Evans and Dan Lydiate – and the Newport-born flanker is looking forward to following in their footsteps.
“I’m overwhelmed and really honoured,” said Evans. “The Dragons players are more than just co-workers, these guys are my mates on and off the field. “It makes this a special place to play and I’m really looking forward to leading the boys out. “There’s a great atmosphere in the camp and that’s shown in the intensity of our pre-season training. “These are boys who will lay themselves on the line without hesitation and it’s and very exciting to be asked to represent them in this way.”
A leadership group that includes his close friend Smith will back up Evans, who has been called up by Wales twice but is yet to be capped.
And the back row forward – who can play blindside, openside and number eight – knows that he will be under pressure to perform.
“Captaining doesn’t always guarantee selection and I know that it’s going to be tough this season,” he said.
“I want to ensure that I’m selected on my own merit and if I want to be pushing for international selection I need to be able to stand up alongside the best.”
l Former Newport, Dragons and Wales centre Matthew J Watkins has been appointed as a coach at the Ospreys’ academy.
The 33-year-old, who won 19 caps, retired from playing in 2011 at the end of his Dragons contract. “This is a great opportunity for Matthew, who is young and ambitious, to earn his coaching stripes,” said Ospreys chief Andrew Hore.
“He enjoyed a long and successful career, representing his country, but having finished playing is now looking to carve a new reputation for himself.”