After being missing from action since early March, Leon Brown’s long-awaited Dragons return won’t be against Northampton this Friday – but head coach Bernard Jackman insists the tighthead is going to be “huge” for the region this season.
Jackman was hopeful that the 21-year-old prop was going to feature in the Men of Gwent’s second friendly of the summer at Rodney Parade.
However, it is now likely that the three-cap Wales international will eventually make his comeback when the Dragons travel to Gloucester for their final warm-up game next Thursday.
Brown ruptured a ligament in one of his toes during the Guinness PRO14 clash with Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in March, ruling him out of the Wales tour.
He had already missed the Six Nations after suffering a concussion in the loss to New Zealand last autumn.
“We did hope Leon would be involved against Northampton but we’re just going to give him one more week,” confided Jackman when speaking to the South Wales Argus.
“If it was a league game we would play him but he’s been waiting a long time and we want to get it right.”
He added: “Leon’s going to be huge for us this season.
“He made his debut in round one of the PRO14 last season against Leinster and ended up getting capped in November.
“Everybody can see what an exciting talent he is and for a 21-year-old tighthead to be capped is pretty rare.
“We love him. He is very genuine, a hard-working young man and passionate about the Dragons, and we missed him in the second half of last season.
“Lloyd Fairbrother stepped up and took his opportunity and now we have got a lot of competition at tighthead.
“Leon has got to get back to his best form to get the jersey and keep it.”
Meanwhile, Jackman has confirmed that centre Tyler Morgan will start Friday’s game on the bench following his troubles with injury and illness and Wing Dafydc Howells is also expected to be involved at Rodney Parade on Friday.
Scrum-half Tavis Knoyle, Joe Davies and back-rower James Thomas are set to get game time with the under-23s who are playing RGC 1404 at Ystrad Mynach on Saturday.
CLICK HERE to secure your tickets for Friday's game against Northampton Saints who include Dan Biggar in their travelling squad. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for juniors in all areas of the ground.