Aled Brew targeting more tries in second season in France
AS Dan Lydiate and Jamie Roberts brace themselves for life in France’s Top 14, another Welshman is hoping to profit from second season syndrome.
Former Newport Gwent Dragons winger Aled Brew is ready for another campaign with Biarritz.
The powerful winger, 26, remains a popular figure for the region’s fans who would love to see him bullocking down the left flank once again.
Unfortunately Brew wasn’t quite as popular with the Wales coaching staff and when he was frozen out of the international scene following the 2011 World Cup, prime reason was given to head to Biarritz. Well, that and a wage packet as attractive as the landscape.
Not that the sun always shines in Biarritz, as those that saw their televised Heineken Cup clash with Connacht last December will testify.
The game was played in torrential rain with huge puddles all over the Parc des Sports Aguilera pitch.
Such conditions happened far too frequently in 2012/13 for a winger’s liking and played their part in making it a challenging campaign for Brew.
“Unfortunately I only scored one,” he said.
“I had a couple disallowed but it’s not just about the tries I suppose.
“And sometimes in France the winger doesn’t seem to get too much ball. I’ve had to work on different parts of my game and I think that I have improved as a player.
“The weather wasn’t the best down here last year and as a club we didn’t have the best of seasons (finishing ninth and out of the Heineken Cup spots) “But things are looking up for this one and there seem to be some good youngsters coming through.
“And I will know what to expect now, so I hope to make more of an impact.”
Brew could provide some pearls of wisdom should Lydiate and Roberts – who left for Paris and Racing Metro this week – need some friendly advice.
And he has certainly had first-hand experience of the madcap nature of French rugby.
“Last season was good… certainly different! Our two coaches (Jack Isaac and Serge Mihas) were sacked and now things are being done a little bit differently.
“The training over here is similar to Wales and the main change is the lifestyle.
“I have three French lessons a week for one-and-a-half hours, so I understand a bit more now, while my son goes to French school and helps me out!
“And I’ve got Mike Phillips just down the road (at Bayonne), so I see a lot of him.”
The Lions star isn’t the only Welsh scrum-half that Brew converses with – Wayne Evans ensures he is kept in the Rodney Parade loop. The winger knew all about the imminent return of Jason Tovey – whose left boot provided plenty of tries – long before the paperwork was complete.
How Dragons fans would love to see Brew back running them in at Rodney Parade, where he has been appreciated more than at anywhere else in a career that has also seen him ply his trade for the Ospreys and Cardiff Blues.
“I’ve got one more season here and will reassess then,” he said.
“I’ve still got international ambitions and I loved it at the Dragons, so you never know.”