Will Rowlands is confident that new-look Dragons RFC can make strides in the BKT United Rugby Championship this season.
Rowlands, 30, was an impressive figure for the Men of Gwent during his first season after moving from Wasps last summer.
The big second row – back in training after his exploits with Wales in South Africa – has been impressed by the new recruits and the addition of head coach Dai Flanagan.
Despite pre-season losses to Bristol and Wasps, Rowlands believes the signs are positive with the countdown to the new campaign fast approaching.
“I’ve been really encouraged so far. I’ve been back in for the last couple of weeks, and we’ve had pre-season games at the end of them,” said Rowlands, speaking at the official BKT United Rugby Championship launch in London.
“The new signings have all been involved and have gone really well.
“They have brought a bit of experience for us in certain positions as well as good depth.
“I am really excited about the contribution that they are all going to have this year. Dragons kick off their URC campaign at Edinburgh on Saturday, September 17.
Before that The players have a final chance to stake a claim for a spot in Scotland when they head to the Scarlets on Friday (kick-off 7pm).
Rowlands will sit out the game as he looks to build his way back in after the Wales tour.
He said: “I was happy to not be involved in these first games so that I could get up to speed with the few changes that have gone on. “I am looking forward to getting on the pitch as soon as possible.”
And looking at the season ahead, Rowlands is ready to play a big part in helping the club kick on and bring success to Rodney Parade.
“There is only room for improvement from last year,” he said. “The signings that we have made as well as some coaching changes will put us in good stead to start to deliver on a few areas that have been holding us back.
“If we do that, I am confident we will be much improved from last year and we can start to compete, both in the Welsh Shield and the URC in general.
“With the improvements that I know have been put in place, we are going to win a few more games, I am sure of it.”