OUTSIDE back Pat Lewis is determined to help Pontypool return to the Premiership in his second spell with the club after suffering promotion agony three years ago.

The 21-year-old centre played for Pooler when he was with the Dragons academy, crossing for six tries in 11 appearances in 2015/16.

Lewis went on to play in the Premiership with Bedwas and Cardiff RFC before spending the second half of last season back at his hometown club of Penallta.

The speedster was a member of the squad that suffered Championship disappointment three years ago, when Pooler missed out on promotion by finishing fifth, and is keen to right that wrong after signing for Leighton Jones' title winners.

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"Returning to Pontypool means a great deal to me," he said. "Aside from Penallta RFC, this is where my senior career really got started.

"We didn't earn promotion to the Principality Premiership in 2016, but I have great memories of the campaign.

"It was an easy decision for me to return to Pooler and I jumped at the chance when it presented itself.

"I always believed I would return to the club one day and I'm delighted to be able to do it so soon. The personnel and set-up have changed to a certain degree since I was last at the club, but it remains a good club run by good people.

"I like to play an expansive brand of rugby and I will hopefully contribute to the club achieving its objective of earning promotion back to the Premiership in twelve months' time."

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Former fly-half Tom Hancock used to be charged with putting Lewis into space and the backs coach is relishing the chance to see him on the run again.

"Pat is a quality signing for the club. He is another young, talented player who has plenty of Premiership experience," said Hancock, who has been promoted from rugby analyst to replace Matthew Jones.

"His versatility will be a real asset for us, with his ability to play at centre or on the wing giving us greater depth in both areas.

"I played alongside Pat during his first stint at the club and he has come a long way since then. He was a valued member of the squad during the 2015-2016 campaign and I have no doubt that he will be once again.

"We now have a core of players in our back division all in their early twenties and it bodes well for the future.

"He very much fits the profile of the sort of player that we try to bring to the club and I believe he has the ability to become a key member of the squad over the coming seasons."

Pooler have retained 27 players from last year's title-winning squad and have signed lock/back row Rhys Clarke (Ebbw Vale), props Scott Evans (Cross Keys) and Sam Cochrane and scrum-half Owain Leonard (Cross Keys), with a few more recruits still to come.

If head coach Jones guides the club to a fourth successive title then they will automatically be promoted to the 12-team Premiership, with no chance of a repeat of last season's play-off heartbreak against Llanelli.

Pooler will be locking horns with the four teams that suffered relegation, Bedwas, Cross Keys, Bargoed and Neath, plus Ystrad Rhondda, Narberth, Cardiff Met, Tata Steel, Trebanos, Maesteg Quins, Beddau, Glamorgan Wanderers and Ystalyfera.