Newport Gwent Dragons have strengthened their squad ahead of the forthcoming 2009-10 season with the capture of Welsh International centre Matthew J. Watkins from Gloucester on a two-year deal.
The Welsh centre will be a great boost to the Dragons' back line, being equally able in the centre or on the wing.
Newport-born Watkins, who has been capped by Wales 19 times, began his professional career with Newport, joining the Scarlets in 2002, scoring 33 tries for the region before his move to Gloucester at the end of the 2007-08 season.
"I'm really pleased to be coming back to Rodney Parade," said Watkins "I'm a local lad and after seven years of playing away from here, I'm looking forward to coming home.
"Looking at the squad, there are a lot of quality young players coming through with a great deal of potential and I think there is a style of rugby in the backs I'll fit in with. It's going to be an exciting season for me.
"I have learned a lot, particularly at Gloucester and I hope I'll be able to bring some of the lessons I have learned and leadership qualities I have developed to the Dragons."
We are delighted to have Matthew on board" said Dragons Rugby Manager Robert Beale. "He is a talented, versatile player who will bring a great deal to our side. Matthew's experience and leadership will also be a great asset to our team.
The Welshman replaces Australian centre Rory Sidey who was released by the region last week to return to Australia.
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.