Head Coach Bernard Jackman has revealed Ollie Griffiths is in line to make a swift return from surgery on his jaw to return to lead the Dragons out against the Scarlets in Friday's Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Rodney Parade (7.30pm).
The openside suffered injury in the match against Enisei in the European Challenge Cup clash in Moscow on October 21st.
The illegal hit by The Russian's centre Dmitrii Gerasimov saw him banned for nine weeks and as well as costing Griffiths a shot at the Autumn Internationals for Wales was expected to sideline him until December, but rapid recovery will boost the hosts ahead of the derby clash.
“It’s a big boost for us and we are delighted. Thankfully it was a really clean break and the operation was very straightforward,” said head coach Jackman.
“He’s brilliant for us, top class, and we see a big future for him. He will play more international rugby and it was unfortunate [that he missed out on the autumn Tests] but over the course of his career I am sure he will benefit from someone else having that misfortune.”
Griffiths, who became the youngest captain in Newport’s history as a teenager in 2014/15, will lead a youthful Dragons side which will be confirmed Thursday lunch time.
“Some of the scores in the Anglo-Welsh Cup are heavy but in general it’s a really good opportunity to give players a chance," said Jackman.
“They need exposure and this is definitely a level up from the Premiership and British & Irish Cup.
“The only way that Welsh youngsters will get to the level of the English kids is through more exposure and this competition gives us an avenue to get to that.”
The Dragons youngsters were also given a taste of the standards they will have to hit when they locked horns with Bath in a training session in Ystrad Mynach on Tuesday.
The men from the Rec, who came over the border for a feisty session in the summer, are preparing for Sunday’s Premiership clash at London Irish.
“It’s really valuable for us,” said Jackman. “Bath came fully loaded and it gives good learning for Friday night.
“It changes the whole focus and you get a lot out of the morning; intensity levels go up and you are repping defensive lineouts against live opposition.”
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