Dragons look to Italy in search for a seasoned 10
ITALY’S Kris Burton is on Newport Gwent Dragons’ radar as they search for an experienced number 10.
The Rodney Parade region have made no secret of their desire to sign an experienced outside half and Treviso’s Burton is a possible target.
Reports in Italy have linked the Dragons with the Australia-born 32-year-old but the region has a few irons in the fire, including his international rival.
Zebre’s Luciano Orquera is another player that is on offer, although Burton appears to be the better fit in terms of what the Dragons require.
Argentina-born Orquera, capped 32 times, has started three of Italy’s Six Nations game but is more of a mercurial talent and is not as reliable from the kicking tee.
Burton, capped 21 times, got the nod for the clash with Wales in Rome and is considered a better game controller.
He put the boot into the Dragons last season when his haul of 18 points – comprising of a full house of a try, two conversions, two penalties and a smart drop goal – helped Treviso to a RaboDirect Pro12 victory at Rodney Parade.
Bringing in older head at 10 is a priority for the Dragons and negotiations with ex-England fly-half Andy Goode and former Wales star Nicky Robinson reached an advanced stage before they opted for Wasps and Bristol respectively.
Dragons director of rugby Robert Beale would not comment on individuals but stressed that the region is beavering away to secure a number of key signings – and that progress is being made.
“There will be no talk of individuals from us until that name is on the dotted line but I will say that over the last two weeks the recruitment situation has improved considerably,” he said.
“Players come on the market and it’s a case of doing due diligence on them and our coaches and analysts are doing a tremendous amount of work.
“An agent will only send you their client’s best bits so our analysts trawl Opta (a stats and performance data company) and look at hundreds of hours of footage, compiling it for our coaches.
“Then it’s a question of making offers and negotiating.
“A huge amount of effort is being put in and I am confident that it will pay off in the next couple of weeks.”
The Dragons have targeted a fly-half, tighthead and lock while last week they signed former Wales scrum-half Richie Rees from Edinburgh on a two-year deal.