Coombs is captain - and pens long-term deal
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have appointed Andrew Coombs as their captain – and secured the services of the Wales lock for another four years.
The 28-year-old, who was one of the stars of the victorious Six Nations campaign last season, was out of contract at the end of the coming season.
But like his international teammate Toby Faletau, who signed up until 2016 last week, Coombs has committed to the region.
The forward has penned a deal to play at Rodney Parade until the end of the 2017 campaign and will lead from the front after taking over the captaincy.
He was interviewed for the job along with last season’s skipper Lewis Evans and hooker Rhys Thomas and got the nod after impressing new director of rugby Lyn Jones.
“It’s obviously one of the biggest achievements that I have had and I am very proud to be captain here at the Dragons,” said Coombs.
“I was lucky enough to be captain of Newport and to move on that one step further is massive for me.
“I have always felt that I have tried my best to lead whether I am skipper or not. It is a big step for me and it’s not an easy job but I know that I have the support of the players around me along with the support of the coaches.
“It’s not a daunting thing it’s something that I will embrace and will enjoy doing.”
The Nelson native has never played for a club outside of the region and has stressed that he is “Dragons through and through”.
After earning a professional deal in 2010 thanks to some stellar performances captaining Newport, the former software salesman has become an increasingly influential figure at Rodney Parade.
Coombs started out as a back row forward but caught the eye of the Wales management team with some feisty derby displays in the second row.
He was won six caps and his international exploits have raised his profile but the Dragons moved quickly to put together a financial package to keep him in Gwent on a long-term deal.
Jones is looking forward to working closely with his new captain.
“He has also shown great example in our pre season training,” he said. “I think it was important to take my time to clearly identify who would be the right choice to lead us and Andrew stood out as a natural leader in this environment.”