Dragons sign Welsh international duo Byrne and Brew

The recent trend of players leaving Wales has reversed briefly with these two signings.

Byrne has 46 caps for Wales.
Byrne has 46 caps for Wales.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS have officially confirmed the signings of Welsh internationals Lee Byrne and Aled Brew.

33-year-old Byrne, a Lions tourist in 2009, will join from Top 14 side Clermont, where he has spent the past three seasons. The former Osprey has been first-choice for Vern Cotter’s team during the majority of that time, but the Auvergne-based club are now focused on reducing the average age of their squad.

Byrne is curently sidelined after suffering a dislocated shoulder, but is looking forward to working with the Dragons’ Director of Rugby Lyn Jones from next season.

I am excited to be returning to Wales to play again. I hope to bring my experiences from France back to the Dragons. It’s no secret that the best fans in Wales are at Rodney Parade and it will be a nice change to have them cheer for me and not jeer for me.”

Meanwhile, winger Brew is also on his way back from France, where he has endured two stuttering seasons with Biarritz. The nine-times capped Welshmen originally joined the Top 14 outfit from the Dragons, for whom he scored 43 tries during his first spell.

Despite only managing to cross the whitewash twice so far in his time with Biarritz, the 27-year-old insists it has been a worthwhile move.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in France and would like to think I’ve learned a lot during my time in Biarritz and that I’ve become a better player because of it. I have no regrets at all about my time in French rugby, it’s been a fantastic experience but I feel it’s the right time to come home for me and my family.

Both players will join the Pro12 side in the summer, with Byrne on a two-year contract while Brew has signed on for three. Lyn Jones, the key man in securing these deals for the Dragons, says he is “absolutely delighted” with the captures.

These transfers mark the latest sign of revival for the region, who currently sit sixth in the Pro12.

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Murray Kinsella

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