Newport Gwent Dragons snap up Ulster back Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith
Smith is comfortable playing at full-back or centre

Newport Gwent Dragons have announced the signing of Ulster full-back Jamie Smith on a three-year contract.

Smith, 22, has made 16 appearances for Ulster, scoring three tries, since his debut against Leinster in 2009.

He was voted Ulster's young player of the year last season and has played for Ireland Schools at Under-20 level.

The Dragons, who appointed Darren Edwards as coach on Tuesday, have also signed scrum-half Joe Bedford, 26, from English Championship side Rotherham.

Bedford, an England Under-21 international, began his career with Premiership side Saracens before moving to Rotherham in 2005.

Two years later, he joined Leeds Carnegie, spending two seasons in the Premiership and then one in the Championship. At Leeds he played with and then was coached by Edwards.

Bedford returned to Rotherham at the end of last season and was made club captain.

"I'm really excited to be joining the Dragons," he said. "I can't wait to start playing for the region.

"I played at Rodney Parade in 2005 for England Under-21's against Wales Under-21's. We were well beaten but I clearly remember the fans were magnificent in supporting their team."

Dragons director of rugby Robert Weale said Smith and Bedford will complement the intended playing style under new coach Edwards.

"I'm delighted to have secured these two players," said Beale. "Joe brings a great deal of experience and Jamie is a very exciting young talent.

"We've looked carefully at Joe and Jamie and we're confident that they will fit in well with the style of rugby we are looking to develop at the Dragons."