DRAGONS forwards coach Ceri Jones believes promising prop Leon Brown has all the attributes to follow in the footsteps of his former Harlequins teammate and Lions hero Kyle Sinckler.

Tighthead Brown has made an impressive start to the Guinness PRO14 at Rodney Parade after going head-to-head with Leinster’s Ireland ace Cian Healy and Edinburgh’s Italy international Michele Rizzo.

The emergence of the 20-year-old from Maesglas, who was invited to train with the Wales squad last autumn, has seen South African prop Brok Harris swap the 3 jersey for number 1.

The Dragons are excited by Brown’s combination of the ability to handle himself at the set piece and the tools to thrive with ball in hand.

Jones has urged the young talent to follow the lead of England and Lions front rower Sinckler, who was coming through the ranks at Quins when the twice-capped Wales prop was at the Stoop.

“Look at Kyle Sinckler,” said Jones. “There are things that he can do around the field that got him on the Lions tour.

“I would put Leon in the same bracket with his contribution around the field. The hunger, the work rate, his carrying ability and general attitude to the game is very similar.

“Leon has the challenge of the tight stuff, which I think he is more than capable of answering and he is still learning.

“There isn’t a tighthead in the world who has it their own way all the time, but learning to cope at that level and then go from that to dominance is the next step for Leon.

“I certainly think he has taken a couple of rungs up the ladder this season.”

Brown made his first steps at senior level last season until an ankle injury suffered playing for Cross Keys at Ebbw Vale ended his campaign.

Jones has already seen a change in his protégé, who has still only made six regional appearances, in the opening stages of 2017/18.

“Leon is a huge prospect and is gaining confidence week on week,” he said. “At times in Edinburgh he showed glimpses of how good he potentially could be.

“When he started playing for Cross Keys it took a while for him to adapt to that level and it wasn’t long before he was really kicking on.

“It’s similar now, he has had a run of games and is going through an adjustment period where he gets used to it. I am looking forward to him gaining more confidence and kicking on.”

Jones has also been pleased by the way that the man in between Brown and Harris in the front row has started the campaign.

Elliot Dee endured an injury-ravaged 2016/17 but the hooker was handed the 2 jersey by Bernard Jackman against Leinster and Edinburgh and rewarded the faith of his head coach with strong displays.

“Those three boys have worked very well as a unit so far,” said Jones. “Elliot was excellent in Edinburgh around the field and at the set piece.

“He carried well, threw well and is really starting to hit form and he is a big player for us.”

The Dragons name their side to face Connacht on Friday at midday with flanker Ollie Griffiths (hip) and scrum-half Sarel Pretorius (calf) likely to be in the XV after missing Leinster and Edinburgh.