DRAGONS tighthead Leon Brown has pledged to ignore the hype and keep learning on the job after locking horns with a Lions prop on his first Guinness PRO14 appearance.

The 20-year-old from Maesglas is set for a big season at Rodney Parade after new boss Bernard Jackman shifted experienced South African Brok Harris to loosehead to accommodate the talented tighthead.

Brown has been highly-rated since coming through the ranks and when he won the Principality Premiership player of the month award in the autumn of 2015 for his exploits with Cross Keys one media organisation excitedly pondered if he was "the answer to Wales' tighthead troubles".

Last autumn he was invited to train with the Test squad by Rob Howley while Jackman has himself made comparisons with Lions ace Kyle Sinckler after being impressed with Brown's set piece work and destructive carrying.

But, encouragingly, the former St Joseph's High School pupil knows there is plenty of learning ahead.

"I stay away from all that [praise] to be honest," said Brown. "I have only played a handful of professional games, so I have to ignore that and just try to put in performances that prove people who do rate me right.

"It's all positive [to receive praise] but there will be times when I am under the pump as a young tighthead. I know that I have to not get too high and not get too low."

Brown made four regional appearances last season – against Leicester and the Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and versus Worcester in the European Challenge Cup double-header – before an ankle injury while playing for Keys in January ended his campaign.

He has prospered from a first "savage" full pre-season as a senior Dragon, avoiding his guilty pleasure of cheesecake and adding power to a 125kg frame.

That summer toil was put to the test last Saturday when he made his first PRO14 outing against title favourites Leinster, going head to head with Cian Healy, a loosehead with 70 Ireland caps and a 2013 Lion.

"I wasn't expecting it, we found out the team on Friday and when I saw Cian Healy was starting I was excited more than anything," said Brown, who shared the propping duties with Cardiff Blues' bright prospect Dillon Lewis with Wales Under-20s.

"He has been one of the best looseheads around for a while now and I was excited to lock horns with him and didn't do too badly.

"It was a bit weird being up against him and [Ireland hooker] Sean Cronin but playing at this level that will happen every week now.

"I will be playing against people that I am used to watching on TV and hopefully I can give a good account of myself every time that I go out there.

"Bernard has shown confidence in me; I had a lot of game time in pre-season and started against Leinster so hopefully if he thinks that I did okay then I can go again against Edinburgh and keep building from there."

Strong-carrying Brown should prosper in Jackman's desired expansive game that places heavy importance on forwards getting their mitts on the ball.

But he also knows that his primary job is the set piece and is happy to have his mentor nearby.

"First and foremost I want to lock down the scrum and build a solid platform for the backs but the brand of rugby we want to play gives an opportunity to get my hands on the ball, run around the park and show what I can do," he said.

"It's good playing with Brok, he is experienced and very vocal. If I am finding something difficult I can go across to him on the pitch and get some advice. It's brilliant having him there."