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Wasps sign Wales international Powell

Wales international Andy Powell has joined Wasps on an initial one-year contract after an acrimonious end to his Cardiff Blues career.

The British and Irish Lion was yesterday released by the Blues, who accused the 28-year-old of "losing his way" as they tore up his contract with two years left to run.

Wasps wasted no time in making their move for the back-row forward, with director of rugby Tony Hanks insisting he had no doubts about the player's state of mind.

"We are delighted to announce that Andy Powell, a hugely talented and highly regarded international back-row forward, joins Wasps ahead of the new season," he said.

"Andy makes his move from Cardiff based on his desire to drive both his club and international career and whilst his rugby ability is obvious, the Wasps coaching team have all warmed to Andy immediately and are impressed by his drive and enthusiasm to relocate to London and join Wasps."

In 2008 Powell made his Test debut and has gone on to win 14 caps, but he was suspended by Wales during this year's RBS 6 Nations following an incident that catapulted him into the headlines.

Just hours after helping Wales complete a stunning comeback victory against Scotland, he was arrested for and admitted to driving a golf buggy on the M4 while drunk.

Wales coach Warren Gatland recalled him for last month's tour to New Zealand, but his hopes of participating in the Tests were ended by a thigh problem.

Powell now wants to put a turbulent period behind him.

"I am extremely excited to be joining London Wasps," he said. "My decision was a pure rugby decision. After all the talk and speculation about where I will be playing, all I want to do now is get my head down, improve as a player and hopefully, if selected, play in the World Cup next year for my country.

"To do that I need to be playing well for my club, and I think with the coaching team and set-up here at Wasps, I will have the perfect opportunity to do that. I know Shaun Edwards well of course from my time with the Welsh team, and I took little persuading once I met with Tony Hanks and Trevor Woodman about how serious this team is about success and winning.

"Wasps have pulled together a great squad, with some great coaches and I think this is an environment in which I will thrive as a player and I hope to do my part to help bring success and trophies to Wasps."

Powell's situation gave Wasps an opportunity to snap up the bulldozing forward and they did not hesitate.

"Andy is the first high-profile Welsh signing at the club since Rob Howley and we are confident he will benefit from the environment and 'Wasps way' in a similar fashion and become a favourite with the Wasps faithful," Hanks added.

"He will be a welcome addition to the squad and is held in high regard by people in the game that we at Wasps trust and respect - none more so than Wasps' Lions players who played alongside him and forged friendships with him in South Africa in 2009.

"This is a good fit for both Andy and Wasps - we want to give him the platform, on the back of good club performances, to play at the highest level possible and Andy is committed to developing his game and ensuring success for Wasps in 2010/11."

The club have indicated that the move to bring Powell to Adams Park concludes their transfer dealings for this summer.