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Faletau stay in Dragons' den

Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:42
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Wales No.8 Toby Faletau has bucked the trend of seeking a lucrative overseas contract by confirming he will remain at Newport Gwent Dragons until June 2016.

Faletau, who played in the British and Irish Lions' 41-16 victory over Australia in the third Test in Sydney, signed a two-year contract extension on Monday.

"I'm pleased to have committed to the Dragons so early in the season," said the 22-year-old Tonga-born forward, capped 26 times by Wales.

"This will help me to concentrate on my on-field performance and the challenges ahead this season."

"With the reputation of Lyn and Kingsley preceding them I'm looking forward to working with them and developing further as a player.

"It's clear the Dragons are taking steps to develop the Region and its team, with a number of new signings both on and off the field."

Faletau's decision to stay in Wales comes after former teammate Dan Lydiate signed for Racing-Metro, the latest in a line of players who have left for big-money contracts at French and English clubs.

Lyn Jones, Director of Rugby said Faletau has made a good decision.

"This puts an end to all the speculation surrounding his future," Jones said.

"Throughout discussions with Toby I have been extremely impressed with his drive and motivation not only on a personal level but in his commitment to developing the Dragons into the best team in Wales."

Jones added: "I'm looking forward to working with Toby, helping him to be the best he can be, not only for the Dragons but for Wales."

Dragons' Chairman Martyn Hazell said: "There was fierce competition for Toby's services but by securing Toby's future here at Rodney Parade it clearly shows our ambition as a Board of Directors and as business to further develop the Dragons brand.

"Toby is important to growing our business on and off the field and shows our commitment to becoming the best Region in Wales."

Faletau was born in Tonga and moved to Wales at the age of seven when his father, Tongan international Kuli, moved to play for Ebbw Vale.

Faletau developed through the Dragons Academy after playing his early rugby in the Region. Faletau's talents were noticed immediately and he was put straight into the Dragons Under-20 squad and the Dragons Academy. He saw a meteoric rise to prominence during the Dragons 2010-11 season where his extraordinary form and potential saw him pick up the Young Player award for the Pro12, Welsh Rugby Writers association and WRPA.

Called up for the 2011 Six Nations, he had to withdraw with an ankle injury but a further call-up for the 2011 World Cup warm-up games thrust him onto the international stage.

Since then he has represented Wales 26 times, and is returning this season after a successful Lions tour in Australia, where he proved just how much his inclusion can change any game.

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