Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Mike Petri signs for Newport Gwent Dragons
USA international scrumhalf, Mike Petri has arrived in Wales after agreeing to terms to play professionally for the Newport Gwent Dragons. The 28 year old from Brooklyn, New York had been in England with the Sale Sharks but was not able to get sufficient game time and has taken up a new challenge. His arrival at the Dragons means that he will be the only USA professional player at the club and indeed in Wales. He will not, however, be alone as fellow North American - Canadian international fullback Matt Evans also plays for the Dragons.
Petri has big boots to fill as former USA Eagles backrower, captain from 2000-2003 and living rugby legend, Dave Hodges, played in Wales from 1997-2004. Hodges played for Llanelli, Bridgend and following restructuring of rugby in Wales he played for the Scarlets with whom he won player of the year in 2002. Today Hodges coaches the Denver Barbarians Rugby Club in Colorado but his reputation lives on in Wales.
Mike Petri has made 17 appearances for the USA Eagles since making his debut vs South Africa in France 2007 as a replacement. His most recent international match was vs Georgia in November 2010 as a replacement for Tim Usasz who plays for Nottingham in England´s second division. Petri is certain to feature at this years Rugby World Cup and his move to Wales will help his chances of being the first choice scrumhalf for the USA Eagles as he will be up against the international scrumhalves of Ireland, Scotland and Wales and willl be getting more game time than he did at Sale. He could make his debut in Thursday´s home Magners League match vs Irisk province Connacht.