THE Dragons have asked the Welsh Rugby Union to look into Cory Hill’s move to Cardiff Blues after confirming the Wales lock is leaving.

The 28-year-old will return to the Arms Park when his contract expires this summer, ending an eight-season stay at Rodney Parade.

The WRU took the lead in negotiations for a new deal as part of a new funding model that sees national boss Wayne Pivac select 38 Test players with the governing body paying 80 per cent of his wages.

Hill, who has won 25 caps and would have been ineligible for Test rugby if he had moved to England or France, has decided to stay in Wales – but will swap Rodney Parade for the Arms Park.

That is a source of frustration for his current employers, who are themselves owned by the WRU and said in a statement that they “have asked the relevant bodies to look into the circumstances around the move”.

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Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan admitted in an extremely short comment that he was sad to see the Wales international leave – “we’re disappointed to see Cory depart and everyone at Dragons Rugby wishes Cory well for the future” – but previously expressed his frustration at the renegotiation process.

“It’s a new system. I feel that we lack input in it, but it’s a new system and we are trying to find a way through it,” he said in December.

“But we have gone from a system where we’ve been in control to one that is partly controlled by the WRU, and that’s very new to us.”

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The forward from Maesycoed will be on the same terms in Cardiff as he would have been had he extended his stay in Newport.

It is a move that the Dragons have been fearing for some time – chairman David Buttress admitted at a February Q&A with supporters that he was confident about Ross Moriarty re-signing but in the dark about Hill – but the departure is a blow.

The region helped turn the lock into an international after his release by the Blues in 2012.

Hill had a short spell in the English Championship with Moseley before being signed by Lyn Jones and going on to make 110 appearances.

The exit will put a heavy burden on the shoulders of Matthew Screech, who has enjoyed an excellent 2019/20.

Joe Davies has grafted hard alongside Screech in the absence of injured lock Brandon Nansen, whose contract expires this summer.

The Samoan international has made just 15 appearances since signing from Stade Francais in 2018 and it remains to be seen whether Hill’s exit provides a lifeline.

Young Max Williams and Ben Carter are next in line, while flankers Lewis Evans and Huw Taylor can also shift forward.

However, Ryan was already looking to bolster his second row options and that will now leap to the top of his to-do list with several targets already identified.