Duo put pen to paper for Warriors

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WARRIORS have, as expected, confirmed the signings of Wales internationals Ben Flower and Gil Dudson on two-year contracts with an option for a third season.

Flower, 24, is a strong-running back-row forward who made 65 appearances for the Crusaders, scoring four tries, and captained his country in 2009.

Prop forward Dudson, 21, was the stand-out performer in Wales’ Four Nations campaign, after making 13 appearances for the Crusaders in Super League during 2011.

Both came with glowing recommendations from new Warriors assistant coach Iestyn Harris, who worked alongside them last season with the Crusaders club.

And Warriors coach Shaun Wane admits he has high hopes for both Flower and Dudson as they aim to make the grade at the DW.

“I am delighted to welcome Ben and Gil to the club and am looking forward to working with them in pre-season,” Wane said.

“Iestyn has played a big part in these signings and is full of praise for their commitment and honesty as players.”

Harris added: “I obviously know Ben and Gil extremely well from the Crusaders and had no hesitation in selecting them for the Wales national side.

“Both are quality players who will add strength in depth to the Wigan squad.

“The pair work incredibly hard and have a willingness to learn, and I’m sure have big futures ahead of them at Super League level.”

Dudson, who previously played for Newport Titans (rugby league) and rugby union side Newport Gwent Dragons at junior levels, admitted the chance to join the Warriors was one he couldn’t turn down.

“Both me and Ben can’t wait to link up with the Warriors, and are really looking forward to working under Shaun (Wane) and Iestyn (Harris), as well as Mark Bitcon and the other coaching staff at the club,” he said.

“Having grown up in South Wales we are fully aware of Wigan and what is required to succeed there.

“They are a massive club and it will be a dream come true to train with such a talented squad, and hopefully pull on the famous cherry and white shirt.

“I was pleased with my form during the Four Nations, but understand that I need to continue working hard.”

Flower, who joined the Crusaders from Welsh rugby union side Bedwas RFC, added: “Wigan are a tremendous club with fantastic facilities and for me to be part of this is a great honour.

“When you talk to people about Wigan, they recognise them as the number one side and I am really looking forward to putting on the cherry and white shirt.

“Iestyn Harris has been a big influence on my career at both club and international level and I am delighted to continue to work with him and with Shaun Wane and the rest of the backroom staff.”

Wigan have also confirmed the signing of highly-rated young centre Rhodri Lloyd on an initial two-year contract.

The 18-year-old had been playing for the South Wales Scorpions and became the youngest player to represent the Welsh national team in a full international recently.

“We are delighted to have been able to attract Rhodri to the club,” said chairman Ian Lenagan.

“He is a fantastic talent with a great physique who, with hard work, could become a very good player for us.”