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Dragons snare Cheetahs lock

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 12:07
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We have been following him carefully for a couple of seasons
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Cheetahs lock Martin Muller is one of four new players that have signed to join Newport Gwent Dragons next season.

Muller joins Italy flyhalf Kris Burton, Edinburgh loose forward Netani Talei and Pumas prop Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro at the Welsh Pro12 outfit.

Muller represented South Africa at a number of age-group levels, including SA Schools and SA Under-21, before making his Super Rugby debut with the Stormers in 2009.

Head coach Darren Edwards said that the Dragons have been monitoring Muller for some time and were impressed with his form for Griquas in the Currie Cup last year.

He commented: "Martin is a player whose progress we have been following carefully for a couple of seasons. His outstanding performances for the Griquas in last season's Currie Cup culminated with selection for the Cheetahs in this year's Super 15.

"We recognise he is a player of great pedigree and potential having come through the SA school and age grade pathways. Martin will compliment our current second rows and possesses the clear attributes that will suit the way we want to play," he said.

Australian-born Burton made his debut for Italy against Uruguay in 2007. He currently has 21 caps and last played for Italy in the Six Nations.

A renowned game controller and tactician, Burton has been instrumental in the development of Treviso into a top quality competitive team. His experiences to date will help provide guidance to a young Dragons squad.

Edwards said: "Any team who has played against Kris knows how influential he can be on a game with his goal kicking and tactical awareness.’

"Alongside the recruitment of Ritchie Rees we now have a good blend of young and experienced half-backs. It gives us the opportunity to generate competition and allows us to create combinations that can be influential and exciting for the team," he added.

The 29-year-old Talei has the ability to play at No.8 or as a flank at the highest level. He brings experience and leadership having competed in the Pro12 tournament and in the European Cup with Edinburgh.

He has also played over 50 games with Worcester Warriors between. Considered one of the best ball-carrying forwards in last year's European Cup Competition, made him a contender for the ERC European Player of the Year.

"We are delighted that Netani will be joining us next year as he will not only provide us with his attacking ball carrying skills but also his leadership as a current international captain. The back row is a very strong and competitive area within our squad and with the addition of Netani it will not only be strengthened, but will also allow us create some potent combinations," said Edwards.

Chapparro currently plays his rugby at Stade Francais in the tough French Top 14. The 23-year-old was a member of the Los Pampas Vodacom Cup championship winning side and has been recently capped by Argentina against France and Italy.

"It is recognised worldwide the quality of Argentinean front row forwards and in particular their technique in the scrum. We believe he will provide a positive influence on our current front row," said Darren Edwards.

Dragons Director of Rugby, Robert Beale commented: "With the business now on a sound footing and an agreed strategy in place, the arrival of these players plus the recent acquisition of Ritchie Rees from Edinburgh will add considerable strength to our playing squad for next season."

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