Neath have added another quality piece to their jig-saw with the capture of the former Ospreys lock Michael Collins.
The 22-year -old Maesteg product who stands 6'5" and weighs in at 17 stone was released by the region at the end of the season and was courted by several English clubs but has chosen Neath over them.
He is the latest top player to join the Welsh All Blacks and he will join an impressive, balanced second-row pool that includes Player of the Year Euros Evans, the fast-emerging Haydn Pugh and the experienced Neil Edwards.
Director of Rugby Patrick Horgan said, "We needed an additional lock as last year, when Haydn Pugh was injured, Euros and Neil ended up playing virtually every game. They did very well for us and were excellent in the Cup Final win over Llanelli.
"But depth is going to be even more important this year especially with the extra challenge of the British & Irish Cup. Mike's athleticism makes him an ideal player in the Neath mould and, with hard work, the rewards will come his way."
Neath chairman Geraint Hawkes said, "We have tracked Mike Collins since his Maesteg days but he signed for The Ospreys who allocated him to Swansea. His career has stalled a bit since then but he is hungry for success and we believe that he has the ability, the quality and the skills to make a big impression at The Gnoll."
Mike Collins added: "I felt signing for Neath was a great opportunity for my personal development especially with the implementation of the British and Irish Cup.
"I'm looking forward to playing a competitive level of rugby at a historic club with a professional setup and a good squad of players. Neath have been a driving force over the last few years and I look forward to being part of their setup for the 2009/10 season campaign."
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.