There has been a great deal of activity from the South of Wales this Summer. None more so than from Dragons, where there have been a significant amount of transfer dealings going on from near the capital.
One of the most notable signings that the Dragons have made is in the capture of 22-year-old Huw Taylor from Worcester Warriors in January. The back-row is just one of fourteen signings made by the club, who are searching for better fortune in the 2018-2019 season. The additions of players such as Richard Hibbard, Brandon Nansen and Ross Moriarty all signify the clubs intentions to make a statement in this year’s Pro 14.
The Dragons struggled to live up to the standards that Bernard Jackman had laid out for the team in the 2017-2018 season, with the side only managing two wins in the campaign. However there is a sense of positivity in the air, with the new signings adding some much-needed depth to the squad.
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Taylor has made quite the name for himself over the past few seasons with Worcester Warriors. He had been involved with the men in blue and gold for over ten years. Due to his size, Taylor had previously played at lock. However his move to the back row has meant that he now has the ability to bring an added dimension of physicality to the pack.
We asked Huw a few questions before his debut season at the Dragons.
RugbyPass: How have you found life at Dragons since joining?
Huw Taylor: I’ve really enjoyed it so far, been a tough pre-season so far! But really excited for the season ahead.
What’s it like training with head coach Jackman? What has he tried to push for this season?
HT: Yeah training has been really intense over pre-season, he (Jackman) demands very high standards and work rate from everyone in the team.
What player has impressed you the most since joining Dragons? What are the goals for the Dragons coming into the new season?
HT: All the lads have impressed me, with a great attitude and drive to achieve one common goal. And that is to get top 6 in the Pro 14. Hibbard has been very good at leading the boys so far and channelling everyone’s energy in the right direction.
How is training different from in England? (Worcester)
HT: There are long days, starting at 8 finishing at 4, but apart from that, it is relatively similar as both clubs are very professional with great facilities.
The 113kg bruiser is no stranger to high-pressure games. Taylor played for the Red Rose at under-17, 18 and 20 level, scoring a try as they beat Ireland 45-21 in Manchester in the final of the Junior World Cup three years ago. It’s this kind of experience that will suit the Bridgnorth-born player well in the coming months. The Englishman will need to use every ounce of that experience to push his way into a competitive Dragons back-five, which will include Welsh Internationals Cory Hill and Ross Moriarty. In addition to this, Taylor will be playing with 21-year-old openside Aaron Wainwright who has impressed in the 16 games that he has played for the Dragons this year.
?? PLAYER SIGNING: Worcester Warriors' versatile forward Huw Taylor set to join @dragonsrugby!
— Dragons ? (@dragonsrugby) January 8, 2018
Another interesting side-story to this signing is that Taylor is Welsh-qualified, meaning that a move to the Dragons significantly increases his chances for a push at a spot in the Welsh back-row. Being 22, he is in prime position to aim for this, however he will need to cement a spot in an extremely competitive domestic team.
Dragons coach Bernard Jackman said: “We are delighted to be able to bring Huw to the Dragons next season.
“He is a valuable addition to our squad because of his versatility in that he can play lock or back-row and is an excellent lineout forward.
“He has strong leadership credentials despite his young age and we look forward to helping him realise his undoubted potential with us over the next two seasons.”
Only time will tell if Huw Taylor will succeed at Dragons. He now has all the tools at his disposal to make this a reality.
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