Family a big factor in decision to stay with Dragons, says Faletau
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons star Toby Faletau has revealed how remaining close to his family was an important factor behind his decision to stay with the region.
The world class Lions and Wales number eight resisted the temptation to leave Rodney Parade and follow the big bucks overseas by penning a new deal.
Faletau, 22, yesterday extended his contract by a further two years to keep him with the Dragons until May 2016. The 2012 Grand Slam winner admitted his father had an influence in persuading him against joining the overseas exodus.
Several high profile Wales international players like James Hook, Mike Phillips and Gethin Jenkins moved to France in recent seasons on lucrative deals.
The Dragons lost three quality players in Luke Charteris to Perpignan, Aled Brew to Biarritz and, most recently, Dan Lydiate to Racing Métro.
Speaking to his father Kuli, a Tonga international who brought his family to Gwent after signing for Ebbw Vale in the 1990s when his son was seven, convinced Fal-etau to stay close to his family who live in Pontypool.
“I was happy here. I talked to my family and we were all happy, so I thought, ‘why not?’,” he said. “I’m glad to be staying here and the family will have to put up with me for another few years!
“I talked to my dad and we both thought that staying here was the best thing for me at the moment and, hopefully, I’ll get managed better here than I would have elsewhere.”
Faletau, who has won 26 caps for Wales and excelled in the Lions’ superb 41-16 series deciding victory over Australia last month, thinks the Dragons will play a vital role as he looks to become an even better player.
“I still feel I can develop my game here with the players here and the staff,” he said.
“And off field stuff is just as important as the on field and I’ll just see where I am in a couple of years’ time.
“Hopefully I can improve my game and the Dragons were my main reasons for staying and getting managed (better) on and off the field. There’s still a lot of my game to improve and there are a lot of good number eights out there.”
Faletau also looks forward to being mentored by the Dragons’ exciting new coaching team which includes director of rugby Lyn Jones and forwards coach Kingsley Jones.
“With the reputations of Lyn and Kingsley preceding them, I’m looking forward to working with them and developing further as a player. It is clear the Dragons are taking steps to develop the region with a number of new signings both on and off the field.”
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