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Welsh Rugby
Dragons face fight to keep hold of Charteris
ESPNscrum Staff
November 16, 2011

The Newport Gwent Dragons face stiff competition abroad as they bid to tie down their skipper Luke Charteris onto a new contract.

The 28-year-old shone for Wales during the World Cup and with his current deal up at the end of the current season, Charteris' signature is reportedly being courted by French big-spenders Toulon and Super Rugby outfits the Waratahs and the Melbourne Rebels. And with James Hook opting to move to Perpignan, they too are also reportedly in the market for a new lock.

But Charteris admits it is his first instinct to stay at Rodney Parade. "My first thought, as always, is to stay and play at the Dragons," Charteris told Wales Online. "It's my 10th year here and I have enjoyed it. After some downs, things are turning around as the new stadium development shows."

And Dragons coach Darren Edwards hopes the carrot of a place on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia will be enough to keep him at Newport. "Of course, we want Luke to stay," Edwards said. "It's a double-edged sword. Luke came from outside the squad to be Wales' No.1 second-row at the World Cup.

"It's a testament to his hard work. He took over the captaincy here towards the end of last season and turned out to be a great leader. He's somebody who could be the first Dragons legend, the first player to achieve that status since the region was formed eight years ago."

With the Dragons already having secured the signatures of fellow Welsh internationals Toby Faletau and Lloyd Burns onto new deals, Edwards has called on the Dragons board to offer Charteris an offer he cannot refuse.

"Our first goal was to get those World Cup guys signed up because they deserve everything they get," Edwards said. "It's up to the Dragons' board to come up with something and then meet Luke half-way.

"We're changing the environment and culture here. Our goal, for all our Welsh players, is to get them into the national side and on the Lions tour. We're here to fuel their ambition. With what's happening here we think it's attainable. We want as many of our players as possible to make the Wales squad."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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