GAVIN Henson has been backed to get the Dragons backs firing this season with scrum-half Charlie Davies declaring that everyone is desperate to impress the former Wales and Lions playmaker.

The 35-year-old is poised to make his Dragons debut in tomorrow's Guinness PRO14 opener against Leinster at Rodney Parade (kick-off 3.15pm) after recovering from a dead leg.

The classy fly-half/centre joined from Bristol this summer on a two-year deal and is charged with not only producing the goods on the field but helping in the development of the burgeoning backs on the region's books.

Henson missed the pre-season games against Exeter and Glasgow but has been making his presence felt on the training paddock in Ystrad Mynach, according to Davies.

"It's been quality," said the scrum-half. "His knowledge of the game is outstanding for us backs in our sessions.

"You can see from the start of the summer to now how backs has progressed, firstly because of the coaching but also because of players like Gav.

"He brings an aura and you want to train well to impress a character like him. Also, he studies the game and picks up things that you should work on individually or as a group.

"The progression each day and week has been far better with a player like Gav with his knowledge, experience and his talent."

"In the early weeks of training you just noticed that he an extra second on the ball," continued Davies, who is battling Sarel Pretorius and Tavis Knoyle for the 9 jersey.

"He will admit that he's not getting any younger and is not the world's quickest player but his angles, the way he holds the ball and the way he runs with it, squaring up defenders, allows time for other people.

"He attracts defenders so there is always somebody with a hole and most of the time he picks the right option."

Henson is in pole position to wear 10 on his back against the PRO14 title favourites this weekend but Davies believes the 33-times capped international won't have things all his own way.

Fly-halves Angus O'Brien, the 22-year-old who made 27 appearances last season, and Dorian Jones, 24 and back from an injury-ravaged campaign, aren't just content to be pupils.

"I roomed with Angus when we went over to Montpellier and he said that to have someone like that to learn from was a blessing," said Davies.

"But Angus and Dorian are going to push him as well – they want to play and don't want to just learn from watching.

"They want to be on the field and that's good, because it brings the best out of Gav and we all know that when he is on form he is high quality. Our young 10s will flourish from this and I am sure they will reach new heights."

New Dragons boss Bernard Jackman names his team to play his former side Leinster at midday.

l Read Lewis Evans' Dragons column on page 37