Dragon’s and former Blues and Wales hooker T Rhys Thomas is to hang up his playing boots to concentrate on coaching with the Dragons Academy.
The twenty seven capped player from Abercynon played for Cardiff Blues for 10 years before leaving for a one year spell at Wasps. Thomas has been at the Dragons since 2013 and been a firm favourite with the fans.
“I am delighted to be able to bring Thomas Rhys Thomas into our coaching team as I feel he has the attributes to make an outstanding coach,” said Dragons Head Coach Bernard Jackman.
“At the Dragons, we want to build a reputation for developing players and coaches and Rhys is the type of character who epitomises the values that are important to us in our group.”
Due to Thomas’ move into coaching, Jackman has added two exciting young front row prospects, Liam Belcher and Gerard Ellis, to the squad.
Both Belcher and Ellis have immediately joined up with the Dragons, who are in the midst of intensive pre-season training.
Church Village-born 21-year-old Belcher joins the Dragons following time at Cardiff Blues and Principality Premiership side Pontypridd.
The promising player made his debut for Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2014 and went on to be capped for Wales U20s during the Junior World Championships in 2015.
Ellis has been recruited to the region from London Irish, after joining the Exiles aged just 14 and progressing through their academy system, into the senior squad.
The 24-year-old is a former back row player and is Welsh qualified.
“We have been able to strengthen our options by recruiting Gerard Ellis and Liam Belcher,” added Jackman.
“Both are young hookers who have lots of potential and who will compete with Rhys Buckley and Elliot Dee for the starting hooker position.
“Liam comes to us from the Cardiff Blues and has represented Wales at under 20’s level, whilst Gerrard came to my attention when he played for London Irish against Grenoble in the Challenge Cup and is a very explosive ball carrier.
“Both players have settled in quickly and I am looking forward to seeing them play in pre-season and staking their claim for a starting shirt.”