BOSS Dean Ryan admits the Dragons ‘got lucky’ by signing props of the calibre of Aki Seiuli and Mesake Doge so late in their recruitment drive.

The Rodney Parade side head into the United Rugby Championship with two new options on either side of their front row.

In June they signed loosehead Seiuli, who was in the Samoa squad for their summer World Cup qualifiers against Tonga, and in July they brought in tighthead Doge, fresh from facing New Zealand with Fiji.

The pair arrived from Glasgow and Brive respectively when the Dragons were in desperate need of reinforcements after the departure of stalwart Brok Harris and loss of Lloyd Fairbrother to a ruptured Achilles.

South Wales Argus: SIGNING: Dragons prop Aki SeiuliSIGNING: Dragons prop Aki Seiuli

"Signing Mesake and Aki in the latter stages of the year wasn't easy,” said director of rugby Ryan.

“Signing non-Welsh players was a challenge and we were staring at being very light at prop. To be able to access that sort of quality late in the market was lucky for us.

"We played Aki at the end of last season and some of the changes that were happening at Glasgow offered us an opportunity. The same with Mesake [at Brive].

"We are really pleased with both of them and they are great additions."

Seiuli will battle for the 1 jersey with up-and-coming Josh Reynolds, veteran Aaron Jarvis and Greg Bateman, who signed from Leicester last summer but had an injury-plagued first season at Rodney Parade.

Doge will be up against Wales tighthead Leon Brown, Chris Coleman and the versatile Jarvis, with 21-year-old Luke Yendle backing them up and Fairbrother unlikely to return in 2021.

The loss of dependable Harris, who decided to return to South Africa after not receiving a contract offer, leaves Seiuli with big boots to fill.

However, Ryan believes the emergence of Reynolds and Coleman as genuine first teamers, and not just through necessity, means the Dragons are stronger in the front row.

“The numbers game was important and filling for Brok, who was so consistent for us,” said the boss. “There was always a point where we had to ask if we could keep going to Brok 25 times a year.

South Wales Argus: BREAK: Josh Reynolds in action for the Dragons in the Rainbow CupBREAK: Josh Reynolds in action for the Dragons in the Rainbow Cup

“There was also a point for the development of Josh Reynolds and Chris Coleman, because sometimes getting exposed week in, week out is not great for development.

“We are 12 months further down the road with them. It will be important how they make that transition over the next few weeks for them to become more regular in the 23s in the season.

“We haven’t had huge numbers out of Leon Brown because of Welsh commitments and we'd love to see him more.

“Getting that balance around front row stocks is important, having Aki and Mesaki plus the maturity of Josh and Chris means it is an area where we have got stronger.”

Bateman suffered a summer back spasm and missed the first pre-season friendly against his former Leicester teammates last weekend but is back in training.