DRAGONS stalwart Matthew Screech says a move to Cardiff will make him “get out of my comfort zone” after eight seasons at Rodney Parade.

The lock is returning to the Arms Park after being released by the Blues in 2013.

The Dragons have signed Will Rowlands for next season but were still keen to keep Screech only for their regional rivals to make an offer that exceeded their valuation.

The second row forward moved to the Dragons via Bedwas and promptly became a mainstay of the packing, racking up 162 appearances over eight campaigns.

The 28-year-old from Porth is fifth on the region’s all-time list of appearances but could be denied the chance to move level with prop Adam Black.

He started against his future teammates in the capital on Sunday but was forced off in the opening exchanges and is set to set out this weekend’s clash with the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.

The Dragons finish the Rainbow Cup against Glasgow and Leinster but even if Screech is fit, director of rugby Dean Ryan may choose to go with the trio of Ben Carter, Joe Davies and Joe Maksymiw who will be with the club next season.

Screech has followed fellow lock Cory Hill and full-back/wing Hallam Amos in leaving Rodney Parade for the Arms Park, but he insists it wasn’t an easy choice.

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“I’m really excited about the opportunity to Cardiff next season,” he said. “It was a decision I thought long and hard about given I’ve spent so long at the Dragons and I remain incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had there.

“I’m very thankful to all of the coaches I have worked with and I leave Rodney Parade a better player.

“However, now is the right time for a new challenge and Cardiff is the perfect place to do that. I want to challenge myself in a new environment and get out of my comfort zone to improve as a player.

“Cardiff have a lot of strength and depth in the position, which will be great for me and I’m looking forward to adding value to the group.

“I came through the academy with a lot of the boys in the senior squad now and they all speak very highly of the set-up and the direction the club is going.

“So, I am eager to rejoin the club at such a positive time and look forward to working with Dai Young, who is such a well respected coach who is passionate about the Cardiff region.”

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Screech was signed before Young returned as director of rugby after the departure of John Mulvihill.

However, the former Wales and Lions prop believes the lock will add beef to the pack when battling for starts with Hill, Seb Davies, James Ratti, Rory Thornton, Ben Murphy and Teddy Williams.

Young said: “We’re pleased to welcome Matthew back to Cardiff Arms Park and believe he will be an important member of our pack in the seasons ahead.

“He adds further strength and depth to our second-row resources and with the amount of regional rugby he has played, he brings experience and leadership, which will be important during international windows.

“He is enjoying some very good form for the Dragons and will come here determined to claim a starting jersey, which will drive competition and standards.”

Screech has been a consistent performer under Lyn Jones, Kingsley Jones, Bernard Jackman, Ceri Jones and now Dean Ryan.

Director of rugby Ryan said: “Matthew has been a great servant to Dragons over his eight seasons and we thank him for his efforts.

“He leaves us with our best wishes for the next chapter in his career.”