Llandovery head coach Rob Appleyard has announced the signings of eight players with proven ability in an attempt to improve the Drovers prospects in the Principality Premiership this season.
Together with the retention of the majority of last season's squad, and the announcement that Prince Charles has agreed to become Patron of the West Wales club, there is a wave of optimism for the forthcoming season within Church Bank.
Half backs, Gareth 'Bulldog' James and former Drover Howard Thomas, have been signed from Neath - Thomas rejoins Llandovery following his heroic performance in the 2007 cup final win over Cardiff. Thomas and fellow Drover, hooker Emyr Phillips, are training in the pre-season with the Scarlets region at Parc-Y-Scarlets.
Former Neath, Swansea and Bridgend outside half Cerith Rees has joined, after a professional rugby career that has seen the former Wales Under 21 player return to Wales, after spells in France playing for Grenoble and Albi and two years with National League Division one club Doncaster RFC.
Wingers Matthew Jacobs and Mike Davies have been signed from fellow regional side Llanelli. Jacobs played for the Scarlets last season and appeared on loan twice at Church Bank in the end of season victories against Glamorgan Wanderers and Cross Keys. Jacobs scored a match winning try against the Wanderers that proved invaluable in the Drovers relegation battle.
Also returning to Church Bank is former Neath and Carmarthen Quins utiliy back Neil Clapham.
The forwards have also been strengthened with the signings of lock Louis Tonkin and No 8 James Watkins. Tonkin is a recruit from Irish First Division side Buccaneers, after previous experience with Galwegians, Coventry and Swansea. Watkins has joined from Spanish rugby club Ordizia Rugby Elkartea. Watkins spent a year there as a professional rugby player and was formally with London Welsh RFC.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.