Thursday, 20 March 2014

Andrei Igretsov to trial with the Newport Gwent Dragons


Russian tighthead prop Andrei Igretsov is reported by his club to be going to have a trial next month at the Welsh region the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Whilst it's pretty obvious that the move for the 28 year old prop of Slava Moscow has very likely been initiated by Kingsley Jones, the head coach of the Russian national team, the move is quite a strange one from the point of view of the Dragons.

For the last dozen years, contrary to some other notable Eastern European teams, one of Russia's weakest areas has been their scrummaging. The props are the area of the field you would least think a team from the big three leagues in Europe would be interested in signing a Russian player, along with the USA they probably have the worst scrum of any nation at the World Cup.

The Dragons have one of the weaker scrums in European rugby, and have suffered crisis in the tighthead position so bad that they signed up the 39 year old former England prop Duncan Bell from a near 2 year retirement. But it still seems rather doubtful that Igretsov, who has just 14 caps for Russia after getting a recall from 5 years in the international wilderness by Jones, will be up to the standard required to get game time or get a full contract.

What could be more likely is that Kingsley Jones is bringing his prop over to join him in Wales for a month to train and learn. If he was actually serious about signing a tighthead prop to play for his Dragons side, then surely he wouldn't sign one who he himself would have seen get shunted about playing for Russia this past month.

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