8:02am Wednesday 23rd April 2014
By Chris Kirwan
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have agreed fresh three-year contracts with influential centre Ashley Smith and Wales wing Tom Prydie.
Smith, 27, and Prydie, 22, have penned deals that will keep them at Rodney Parade until the summer of 2017.
Only three players – Steve Jones, Adam Black and Wayne Evans – can better Newport-born Smith's tally of 145 Dragons appearances made over nine seasons.
He will be a key figure in the development of up-and-coming teenage centres Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan as well as 22-year-old Ross Wardle, who is in his first full season as a professional.
Smith, the region’s best 12 in terms of distribution and organisation, is currently sidelined with a foot injury sustained while scoring against Zebre earlier this month but boss Lyn Jones is delighted to have retained a player who is a key figure on the training paddock as well as the pitch.
"Ashley is a Dragons stalwart just like (flanker) Lewis Evans," said the director of rugby. "They are players that give 100 per cent to the region every time that they put the shirt on and we need more people like them in our setup."
Prydie, from Porthcawl, has scored 252 points in 38 appearances since heading east from the Ospreys in 2012.
The wing/full-back won his fifth cap against Japan last summer and was a member of the Wales training squad for the autumn internationals. Jones expects the speedster to push for more Test honours.
"Tom has shown great promise throughout his time with the region and I am looking forward to working with him over the coming seasons," said the boss.
"He delivers and responds to everything the coaches and I throw at him, he has great potential as a player and I hope that he realises that himself."
The pair expressed their delight at extending their time at Rodney Parade.
"Under Lyn's guidance the club is going places and will become very successful in the coming seasons. I look forward to what the future holds with the Dragons and being part of its success," said Smith, who was voted as player of the season in 2009/10 by Argus readers.
"Lyn has a really positive outlook on the next few seasons for the region and I look forward to what the future holds here," added Prydie.
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