The Dragons have signed Ulster Fullback and provincial Young Player of the Year Jamie Smith on a 3-year deal from Ulster. Smith joins scrum half Joe Bedford who has joined the region from Rotherham.
Smith graduated through the Phoenix Ulster Academy and made his senior debut against Leinster in December 2009. He has gone on to make 16 appearances for the Province, scoring three tries.
The former Campbell College student has represented Ireland at Schools’, U-19 and U-20 level. Smith’s game is based on speed, strength and dynamic footwork and he is equally comfortable at fullback or centre.
Leeds-born Bedford (26) comes to Newport from Rotherham Titans where he was the Club Captain.
“I’m really excited to be joining the Dragons,” says newly signed scrum-half Joe Bedford.
“I can’t wait to start playing for the region. I played at Rodney Parade in 2005 for England Under 21’s against Wales U 21’s.
We were well beaten but I clearly remember the fans were magnificent in supporting their team. Not only were they encouraging and incredibly noisy but they showed they certainly know their rugby and were quick to applaud good play – even though not very much of it came for us!"
Bedford began his professional career in England with a season at Premiership club Saracens before moving to Rotherham for two years. While he was there he was spotted and signed by Leeds Carnegie where he spent three years – two in the Premiership and one in the English Championship. It was at Leeds that he came to play with, and under, player coach Darren Edwards.
At the end of last season Rotherham approached him to return as Club Captain where he has remained throughout the current season.
Joe and his wife Katie, plus their 20 month old daughter, have been house hunting in the area and have already settled on their new home in Caerleon. They plan to move in later this month.
“In plenty of time for pre season training,” says Joe, “and it’s about five minutes from the ground. I can’t wait for next season to start!”
“I’m delighted to have secured these 2 players,” said Dragons Director of Rugby Robert Beale. “Joe brings a great deal of experience and Jamie is a very exciting young talent. We’ve looked carefully at Joe and Jamie and we’re confident that they will fit in well with the style of rugby we are looking to develop at the Dragons.”
Date of birth: 25 June 1998
Height 1.78m / 5’10”
Weight: 80kg / 12st 8lb
Position Centre / Fullback
Date of birth: 16/2/1984
Height: 1.78m / 5ft 10in
Weight: 87kg / 13st 9lb
Position scrum half