WALES lock Will Rowlands believes Rodney Parade is the perfect place to push on in his career after signing a three-year contract with the Dragons.

The 29-year-old’s move from Wasps has been officially confirmed with the towering forward joining up with Dean Ryan’s squad in the 2021/22 season.

The Dragons have announced a "long-term contract" but the Argus understands he will be with them until at least 2024.

The signing is a coup for the club with the 6ft 8ins forward adding considerable bulk to their pack.

Rowlands won his first Wales cap against France in last year’s Six Nations and, after helping Wasps to the final of the English Premiership, then featured four times in the autumn.

The lock believes he is hitting top form and wants to maintain the progress at the Dragons.

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“I think it’s been my best 12 months from a rugby point of view, even if it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster in other aspects of life,” said Rowlands, who is battling Jake Ball and ex-Dragon Cory Hill to be Alun Wyn Jones’ second row partner against Ireland.

“I’ve been happy with how I’ve been playing for Wasps and I was really honoured to take up the opportunity to play for Wales. I’ve really enjoyed my involvement with that so far.

“I’m excited about coming to play rugby in Wales and ultimately that is to progress and have more involvements with the national team.

“It’s a fantastic environment to be in and you want to be competing against the best players in Wales.

“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity of another Six Nations campaign and trying to improve as a player and compete for spots in that matchday 23.”

Rowlands has been a long-term target for the Dragons, who have profited from the lock having to play in Wales to continue his international ambitions under the Welsh Rugby Union selection policy.

Talks with director of rugby Ryan convinced the abrasive forward to swap Coventry for Newport.

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“I’m excited by the move,” said Rowlands. “It’s a new chapter for me having only played my rugby at one club, so I’m looking forward to some new experiences and challenging myself in a new environment.

“It’s a young group at Dragons with some real potential that has already made some strides forward under Dean and the rest of the coaches.

“I’m looking forward to being able to contribute to that in any way I can, help improve the team so we can all improve as players as a result.

“It’s a new league too and I’ve only played against a handful of the teams in European games so it will be good to have that variety and change.”

Rowlands, whose father Jeremy is from Pontllanfraith, got a glimpse of his new workplace when he faced the Covid-hit Dragons in December’s Champions Cup fixture.

“I’ve also never lived in Wales so I’m looking forward to going back to my roots in some respects and spend some time there,” said the lock, who played for Oxford University in the 2012 and 13 Varsity matches.

“It will be a new season, a new challenge and I’m looking forward to linking up with the rest of the guys and progressing.

“I’ve obviously played against the Dragons earlier this season - it was a weird one because of all that happened with Covid beforehand.

“It overshadowed it all and it was a shame that we couldn’t have the reverse fixture at the Ricoh Arena.

“But it was nice to be down there, experience a bit of Rodney Parade, but it will be much better when fans are back.

“I obviously know a few of the guys through Welsh camps already so it was entertaining and good fun to play against them.”