Tavis Knoyle believes his best years are still ahead of him after signing a new deal with the Dragons.
The former Wales scrum-half, now 29, has come through two injury-affected seasons to extend his stay at Rodney Parade.
His new two-year agreement will see him battling with another Welsh international, Rhodri Williams, for the scrum half berth. It will also mean he can look forward to making his 50th appearance for the region when rugby re-emerges.
“I feel we’ve grown as a team every week this season and I’m looking forward to being part of what we achieve in the future. That’s why I’m delighted to have signed a new contract,” said Knoyle.
“I’m enjoying the environment that Dean Ryan and the coaching staff have created. I’m being challenged and that keeps me focused.
“My appetite to improve myself, and those around me, is as strong as ever. I want to feature as much as possible and use my experience to keep us moving forward as a region.”
The 11-times capped No 9 follows other senior players such as Aaron Jarvis, Ross Moriarty, Rhodri Williams, Ollie Griffiths, Josh Lewis and Jordan Williams in committing their future to the Rodney Parade side.
Knoyle first burst onto the regional scene in the 2009-10 season at the Scarlets after winning caps for Wales at U16, U18 and U20 levels. The previous season he had come on as a replacement for Neath when they beat Llanelli in the WRU National Cup final and made one appearance for the Ospreys.
The Glynneath product was then part of the Wales squad that toured New Zealand in 2010. He made his senior Wales debut against the All Blacks in Dunedin as a second-half replacement.
He was named in the Six Nations squad in 2011, winning his second cap in the clash with Scotland, and the first of his three starts for Wales came against Argentina in a World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff in August, 2011.
He went to the 2011 World Cup and started in the pool win over Namibia. His third start came against the Pumas in 2012, he was a member of the Welsh Six Nations title winning squad in 2013 and won his last cap on the summer tour to Japan later that same year.
“Tavis is passionate about playing for Dragons, relishes the competition for the No9 jersey and brings high standards. We’re all pleased to keep him on board for the next few years,” said Ryan.
As well as playing for Neath, the Ospreys and Scarlets, Knoyle also spent a season at Gloucester in the English Premiership and two years at Cardiff Blues. When he joined the Dragons in 2016 he became only the third player to have featured with all four Welsh regions.
His Dragons debut came in Krasnador in the European Challenge Cup match against Enisei-STM in October, 2016.