THE Dragons have bolstered their pack with the signing of former Cardiff Blues back row forward James Sheekey, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 23-year-old, who is 6ft 5ins and 16st 11lbs, has signed a one-year deal at Rodney Parade to help ease a back row injury crisis.

With Nic Cudd (knee) out for the season, Harri Keddie (shoulder) set to be out until the New Year and Lewis Evans (Achilles) and Robson Blake (collarbone) sidelined, the Dragons have been down to their last three senior options – James Thomas, Ollie Griffiths and James Benjamin – with academy talent backing them up.

Max Williams, 19, made his debut against Leinster and went on to play against Edinburgh and Ulster, 18-year-old Lennon Greggains was a replacement in Belfast and Aaron Wainwright, 20, came off the bench at Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Sheekey, who made his Blues debut against Wasps in 2015 and made a total of six appearances for the Arms Park region in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, has been playing at number eight for Cardiff in the Principality Premiership.

Dragons head coach, Bernard Jackman said: “James Sheekey is a very tough, abrasive and hard-working back row that also can play lock.

“He is someone that I believe will thrive in our environment and as coaches we are all looking forward to helping him develop.”

Sheekey is not yet registered in the Dragons' 41-man European Rugby Challege Cup squad, although they can make three replacements during the pool stages.

If he doesn’t feature in the opener at Newcastle on Saturday then he could play for the Dragons Premiership Select XV when they get their British and Irish Cup campaign under way at London Scottish.