PONTYPOOL have strengthened their pack for their push for promotion to the Premiership with versatile forward Rhys Clarke and prop Scott Evans.

Clarke, who can play lock or in the back row, heads to Pooler from Ebbw Vale while tighthead Evans and arrives from Cross Keys.

Pooler are hunting a fourth WRU National Championship crown on the spin, which will carry the prize of a return to the top flight, and head coach Leighton Jones has bolstered his already strong options up front.

Clarke will provide plenty of experience after racking up over 150 appearances for Ebbw and helping them win the Premiership title in 2016.

"After eight years with Ebbw Vale, I felt I had given everything I could to the club and I am excited to be embarking on a new challenge with Pontypool," said the 28-year-old, who played for the Dragons Premiership Select XV.

"When speaking to Leighton, it became evident what a great ethos and set of values exist at the club."

"Rhys is a proven performer and has a track record of delivering Premiership standard performances on a regular basis," said head coach Jones.

"He can cover the second-row, the number six shirt and will be a valuable member of the squad next season.

"Rhys is a skilful player. He has good hands, is strong in the air and will fit in well with the lads currently fighting for those positions.

"We have always wanted to create an environment where competition for places remains strong at all times."

Evans, 25, started last season with Keys and played for the Dragons A side in the Celtic Cup before returning to his first senior club, Oakdale, on permit and playing in the WRU National Bowl final against Abergavenny at Principality Stadium.

"It's a club with a winning mentality and a thirst to achieve great things, making my decision to join an easy one," he said about his move to Pooler.

"I'm a local lad and will relish pulling on the famous red, white and black jersey for the first time. I'm

looking forward to the coming season and hopefully helping the club achieve promotion."

"Scott is a highly motivated individual who will fit into our environment perfectly," said former hooker Jones about the prop, who will battle Craig Price for the 3 jersey.

"With the departure of Ollie Drake over the summer, we needed to restock our tighthead options and I'm really looking forward to seeing Scott develop over the coming seasons.

"He brings an aggressive and hard style of play to the field, but he channels it in the correct way and will be a real asset for us."

Pooler have retained the core of the squad that recorded a second successive perfect Championship season of 22 wins.

Props Aaron Coundley, Corey Hewlett and Craig Price, hookers Darren Hughes, Lewis Ball and Alex Watkins, locks Danny Hodge and Curtis Gregory and back row forwards Craig Attwell, Michael Herbert, Brendan Lampitt, Scott Matthews, Rob Nash, Ben Sparks and Jordan Williams have all committed to the club.

They are charged with providing ball for scrum-halves Martin Luckwell and Aaron Quick, fly-half Matthew Lewis, fly-half/centre Kieran Meek, centres Dan Robinson, Joel Mahoney, Clayton Gullis and Ceri Morris, wings Lloyd Lewis, Jordan Thomas and Rhodri Usher and full-back Geraint Walsh.