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From being unemployed and training alone to earning a new contract

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Steff Hughes has gone from being an unemployed rugby player to becoming a key part of the Dragons set-up under Dai Flanagan in the space of just 10 months. It was at the end of the 2021/22 season when the midfielder was released by Scarlets after falling down the pecking order under Dwayne Peel.

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That left him out of work and training on his own in the hope that a lifeline would emerge. It did, a short-deal term in October as injury cover taking him to Rodney Parade and his efforts since then have now been rewarded with an unspecified length, long-term contract that will keep him at Dragons.

A statement read: “Dragons are delighted to announce star centre Steff Hughes has signed a new long-term contract with the club. Hughes – who has made 17 senior appearances and scored two tries since joining the club on a short-term deal in October – has made a huge impact at Rodney Parade this season.

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“The experienced 29-year-old has captained the club and has led from the front as a key figure in the back division under head coach Dai Flanagan. Carmarthen-born Hughes – who joined Dragons following nine years at the Scarlets, where he made over 100 appearances for the West Walians – is the latest key senior player to sign new terms.

“Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths, Ashton Hewitt, Jack Dixon, Elliot Dee, Joe Davies, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech and Jared Rosser are among those to sign new contracts in recent weeks.”

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Flanagan said: “Steff is a key figure within our squad, a player who sets the standards and who wants to really push this club forward. His behaviours are exceptional and young players like Aneurin Owen and Will Reed will only get better with people like Steff in the building.

“Steff is very aware of the role he can play here. I know the satisfaction he takes from seeing the development of players like Joe Roberts, Ryan Conbeer and Tom Rogers at Scarlets and we feel he can have the same impact here.”

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Hughes added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have signed for another few years at Dragons RFC. I’m really enjoying working with some great people at the club and firmly believe we have an exciting period to look forward to ahead of us all.

“I’d also like to thank the supporters at Dragons who have welcomed me with open arms since my arrival and for their continued backing. I have really enjoyed the experience of playing at Rodney Parade and I’m already looking forward to getting back next season and doing all I can to give our fans the performances and results they richly deserve.”

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