New Zealander MacDonald signs with Newport



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Newport Gwent Dragons have announced that Hoani MacDonald has signed a two year contract and will join the region in September 2008.

The highly-rated Highlanders’ Super 14 forward, who comes from one of the most noted rugby families in his country, played for the Junior All Blacks in 2006 and has recently been named in the New Zealand Maori squad for the 2008 IRB Pacific Nations Cup tournament.

Hoani is looking forward to the challenge of European rugby following an intense IRB Pacific Cup. He said:

“This will be an exciting move and I’m looking forward to playing some challenging rugby with the Dragons at Rodney Parade and in Europe.

“The Newport Gwent Dragons approached me in New Zealand with huge ambition to attract overseas experience ahead of an exciting new stadium at Rodney Parade and I am thrilled to commit and be part of their future goals.

“Having played with Tom Willis, James Arlidge and Grant Webb during my rugby career I’m delighted to join the Dragons among such a high calibre of player and look forward to becoming part of a strong squad of new and existing talent at Rodney Parade.”

Hoani will join fellow New Zealanders Tom Willis, James Arlidge and Grant Webb who have also signed two-year contracts with the Dragons, since Chief Executive Gethin Jenkins and Head Coach Paul Turner embarked on their overseas recruiting plan ahead of the redevelopment of Rodney Parade in 2010.

The contract signings follow the submission of the planning application for a 15,000 capacity Rodney Parade stadium. Chief Executive Gethin Jenkins said:

“The signings reflect the ambition of the Dragons ahead of the imminent Stadium redevelopment. When Paul and I travelled to New Zealand we were determined to secure quality and experienced players to compliment the experience and emerging talent already nurtured by the Dragons within the region.

“It is important to ensure that we are signing the right type of players to join the Dragons and this formed a key reason for our trip to New Zealand.

“We explained our plans and the direction that the team is going and, as a result, the players have committed themselves to the Dragons for the coming two-years. There are certainly exciting times ahead for the region and the signings reflect the growing confidence here at Rodney Parade.”



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