Welsh World Cup heroes Toby Faletau and Lloyd Burns have pledged themselves to the region for the foreseeable future, both signing contract extensions which will see the pair at Rodney Parade until 2014.
Faletau, who made his regional debut in 2009, aged just 18 has seen meteoric rise to prominence picking up the 2010-11 Young Player award for the Magners League, Welsh Rugby Writers association and WRPA. He also became the first Welsh player to start 7 international matches in a row during the Rugby World Cup.
Former bricklayer Burns was picked up from the Premiership by the Dragons and has gone from being a semi-professional player to a World Cup international in just 2 years.
“It was a pretty simple decision for me,” said Burns. “The Dragons are my region and I want to stay with my local team.
“The Dragons have been really good to me and it’s where I want to be. I’ll be back in training next week and am really looking forward to getting back in with the boys and taking on the next challenge.”
And the former Pontypool back row has certainly made his sacrifice for his country, giving up his honeymoon plans over the summer and staying sober at his own wedding in order to make his international debut the following morning.
“We’re looking at getting away for a few days after the Blues game, but there’s nothing more ambitious planned for the moment!”
“The World Cup was a great experience but I’m really looking forward to getting back Rodney Parade,” said Faletau. “I just love to play rugby and I enjoy being at the Dragons.”
“The success of our business depends heavily on creating a pathway for young talented players within our region to feel they can follow in the footsteps of Lloyd, Toby and many others,” said Director of Rugby Robert Beale.
“Obviously the retention of such players has a huge bearing on our ability to function as a successful business going forward and therefore Newport Gwent Dragons are delighted to have secured the future of Lloyd and Toby until at least 2014.
“Everyone at the Dragons has worked extremely hard over many months to bring about the exciting changes in facilities at Rodney Parade and creating an environment that supports the professional game in Wales.
“Extending the contracts of these major assets is proof that all that hard work has paid off and that young players throughout our region need look no further to fulfil their rugby ambitions.”