Kingsley Jones: I know nothing about Lee Byrne link
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons coach Kingsley Jones says the region are always interested in signing quality players like Lee Byrne but admitted he knows nothing about a move to bring the 2008 Wales Grand Slam star to Rodney Parade.
The 33-year-old Clermont Auvergne player was this week linked to the Gwent region by French newspaper Midi Olympique.
The full-back signed for last season’s losing Heineken Cup finalists on a three-year deal from the Ospreys which expires next year.
Leading French club Clermont could be preparing to replace the 2009 British and Irish Lions man with Six Nations player of the year Leigh Halfpenny, the highly regarded No 15 rumoured to be set to join them on a huge contract.
If this were to happen, Byrne could well end up finishing his playing days in Wales, having already represented the Scarlets and the Liberty Stadium side.
When he was asked about whispers linking Byrne with the Dragons, forwards coach Jones replied: "I know nothing about it, although there's no smoke without fire. We would be interested in a player of the quality of Lee Byrne."
Meanwhile the Dragons look set to start with their Wales stars against Bordeaux-Bègles in the Amlin Challenge Cup on Friday night, number eight Toby Faletau, lock/back row forward Andrew Coombs and full-back Hallam Amos return to their squad after being away with the national squad for the recent autumn internationals which ended with a 30-26 defeat to Australia last weekend.
Faletau played in the losses to South Africa and the Wallabies and featured in the victory over Argentina, Dragons captain Coombs was due to win his seventh cap in the 17-7 win over Tonga but had to withdraw at the 11th hour with a back injury while Amos made his Test in that clash at the age of 19.
Utility back Tom Prydie was drafted into the Wales squad last month but a hamstring injury meant he played no part and it continues to rule him out for the Dragons this week.
Hooker T Rhys Thomas (ankle) is also sidelined.
Dragons squad for Bordeaux-Bègles – Backs: H Amos, D Evans, W Harries, M Pewtner, R Wardle, A Smith, P Leach, K Burton, J Tovey, W Evans, R Rees.
Forwards: P Price, N Buck, N Williams, D Way, H Gustafson, S Parry, E Dee, M Screech, R Sidoli, A Coombs, L Evans, N Cudd, I Jones, T Faletau.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
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