Last hurrah for Dragons lock Robert Sidoli
FORMER Wales lock Robert Sidoli will make his last hurrah for Newport Gwent Dragons when he comes off the bench against Treviso this evening, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 34-year-old 2005 Grand Slam winner is yet to decide whether he will retire after a professional career that has spanned three decades.
But Sidoli's time at Rodney Parade is coming to an end after five seasons and his 119th appearance will be his last.
After missing out on the matchday squad for the last five games, the veteran second row forward has been named among the replacements for the RaboDirect Pro12 finale against the Italians.
"I've been disappointed to not play recently but it's nice to be involved in the squad one last time," said Sidoli. "To finish with a home game at Rodney Parade so that I can say thanks to the supporters is great.
"I have some very fond memories from my time here and I am so grateful for the help of all my teammates, the coaches, backroom staff and especially the physio department, who have had to deal with some serious injuries but have managed to get me back out there.
"I've got to assess a few things before I decide what to do next but first I want to give it everything for one last time here and hopefully enjoy a win."
Sidoli started out at Pontypridd in 1999 and went on to play for the Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues and Bristol before heading to Rodney Parade in 2009.
He has played more times for the region than any of his other clubs and Argus readers recognised his tireless efforts in 2011/12 by voting him as Dragon of the Year.
Sidoli won 42 caps, played in the 2003 World Cup and was a key component of Mike Ruddock's 2005 Grand Slam side, playing every minute and scoring a memorable try against Italy in Rome.
The lock has been putting his knowledge to use by helping out with the Dragons Under-18s and is keen to continue to climb the coaching ladder.
The Dragons will have six locks on their books next season in captain Andrew Coombs, new South African recruit Ligtoring Landman, returning Rodney Parade favourite Ian Gough and the burgeoning trio of Matthew Screech, Cory Hill and Joe Davies.
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