Dragons are delighted to confirm that forwards Lewis Evans and Matthew Screech have both extended their contracts with the region for another two years.
Newport-born back row, and former captain, Lewis Evans is the region’s record-appearance holder with 225 Dragons games under his belt following his debut against the Scarlets in September 2006.
The 31-year-old’s 200th appearance for the Dragons came in 2017, during his time as captain, running out in front of the home crowd at Rodney Parade against Ulster. He now leads the all-time appearance chart for the Dragons by 45 games and this season has most regularly played at lock, often alongside Screech.
Head coach Ceri Jones said, “Lewis is a leader on and off the pitch for the Dragons, born in the region and a true stalwart, so it’s great for Lewis and the Dragons to keep him as a player and develop him as a coach for the future.
In addition to his playing duties, this season Lewis Evans joined the coaching team for Dragons under 18s who went undefeated in all their fixtures this season to win the Age Grade Championship for the first time. His new two-year deal will give him the opportunity to extend his experience as he begins his Level 4 coaching badges and continue his development into coaching.
“I’m pleased to have extended my time with the Dragons for another two seasons, which will take me up to a lucky 15 years,” said Lewis.
“Next year is going to be tough for all teams, as they will losing international players with the Rugby World Cup, so the strength and depth in squads will show, where teams will need a solid squad of 35 players.
“There’s an exciting future here with players such as Taine Basham, Lennon Greggains and Jared Rosser putting their hand up when they’ve been called upon, but I can still play a fair few games and have plenty to offer. I’m still a player first, but within my contract there’s a transition towards the end of it into a player/coach role.
“It was a nice start this year helping out with the Under-18s and next year hopefully I’ll be more full time attached to the A team and beyond that help bring the Academy players through and support the forwards in the senior squad.”
Twenty-six year old second row Matthew Screech joined the region in 2013/14, debuting against Ulster at Rodney Parade and becoming a regular making 119 appearances since. The Church Village-born lock has made 17 appearances so far this season, scoring his eighth try for the region in January’s 59-3 victory over Timișoara Saracens.
Head coach Ceri Jones said, “Matthew Screech has been a consistent twenty-game-a-season performer for the Dragons for last six years, so its great news his loyalty and commitment is rightfully rewarded with a new two-year contract.
“Screech brings excellent work rate around the park and physical presence at set piece, at 26 he is a player coming into his prime.
“Retaining Lewis and Matthew with their experience will prove invaluable during the Rugby World Cup when every team will be affected by call-ups and helps us bring on our set of young talented forwards too.”