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Ashton Hewitt Backed To Do It . . . All Over Again

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By David Williams

He’s the Dragons highest try-scorer in Europe and only seven off Aled Brew’s regional record of 43, but Ashton Hewitt won’t be able to add to his tally of 36 tries in 125 games this season.

Instead, the fleet-footed wing will have to wait for up to nine months before resuming his quest to become the first player at his region to score 50 tries.

When it comes to injuries, the 29-year-old Hewitt is the past-master at fighting back. Resilience is his middle name and Dragons backs coach Matt O’Brien is backing him to return better than ever.

“It’s devastating for Ash and we’re all gutted for him, especially as he was starting to find a bit of form,” said O’Brien

“He’s lucky he’s so resilient. He has such a strong personality and we all now he will bounce back for sure. It’s a long-term injury which he has been through before and knows how to come out the other end of it.

“He is a good professional so I am sure he will come back stronger, and we are all right behind him. It’s devastating for all of us because we want our top players available.”

Hewitt picked up his latest injury, an ACL problem in his right knee, in training ahead of the BKT United Rugby Championship clash with the Scarlets. He underwent surgery and is now expected to be out for nine months.

It won’t be the first time he has had to battle back from knee surgery. Hewitt tore ligaments in his left knee when scoring against Northampton at Rodney Parade in April 2021.

Scans at the time revealed that he had ruptured both his anterior cruciate ligament and his medial collateral ligament. It meant he went 18 months without playing any competitive rugby.

A month after his return in September 2022, he injured his ankle against the Sharks and was forced to spend a further two months on the sidelines after corrective surgery.

Having won four caps at U20 level, many tipped Hewitt to win a full cap and he was named in senior squads in 2017 and 2018. Wayne Pivac also picked him for his squad to prepare for the uncapped clash with the Barbarians in 2019

He was picked for the three Test tour to the USA and Argentina in the summer of 2018, but picked up a shoulder injury in training and missed his chance.

A concussion sustained against the Ospreys ruled out of the 2017 Six Nations squad and then the end of season Tests with Tonga and Samoa, while a shoulder injury picked up in training in a collision with Dragons teammate Elliot Dee forced him to pull-out of the summer tour in 2018 to the USA and Argentina.

He underwent surgery on his shoulder for the second time as a result and missed a whole season of rugby. Is there an unluckier player in British rugby?

“We’re all devastated for Ashton. It’s particularly cruel that a player who has experienced this type of knee injury before now faces another spell out of the game,” said Dragons head coach, Dai Flanagan.

“Now that he has had his surgery he will start his journey back surrounded by our medical staff and physios – and with the support and backing of us all at Dragons.”

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