ELLIOT Dee is looking up to Will Rowlands in more way than one after an impressive start to life at the Dragons by the "freak".

Lock Rowlands made the move from Wasps in the summer to continue his Wales career.

The 6ft 7ins forward has hit the ground running at Rodney Parade, leading the charge in the narrow defeats to the Ospreys and Leinster before helping end the 22-game winless Irish streak at Connacht.

Yet Rowlands is also making an impression at the training base in Ystrad Mynach, setting an example to others less than 48 hours after slugging it out at the Sportsground.

"I hate looking back at clips and being stood next to Will - I look like a dwarf! He's a bit of a freak really, he's a massive man who is athletic and strong," said Dee, who started all three summer Tests with the lock.

"I keep looking at him on a Monday after he has put in an 80-minute shift and he's coming in to train legs like he has no bumps and bruises. I had to ask him how he does it.

South Wales Argus: TOUGH: Will Rowlands carrying hard for the DragonsTOUGH: Will Rowlands carrying hard for the Dragons

"I suppose it would have easy to come in on Monday after a good win at Connacht and long travel and take it easy by doing a bit of upper body work in the gym.

"When you see boys like that pushing and getting the best out of themselves all the time you think 'I'm going to do that as well'.

"It's great if youngsters see that and it certainly helped me get through Monday knowing that the boys are getting the work done."

Dee and Rowlands will be to the fore this evening against a Stormers side sure to bring a typically confrontational South African approach.

No longer will the Dragons shy away from that.

They field a starting pack featuring six players – Dee, Rowlands, Ben Carter, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham – selected by Wales for the autumn series.

Former Leicester loosehead Greg Bateman and Fiji tighthead Mesake Doge should provide a solid platform.

"Maybe in the past we'd have looked to combat their physicality by playing around it," admitted 40-times capped Dee.

"We are under no illusions about what is coming, we know the way they want to play and we have to stand up physically.

"That probably shows with the split of six forwards and two backs on the bench, we know that we have a job to do and are looking forward to trying to execute."

Dee has played alongside some wonderful forwards since his 2013 debut – Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau, senior hookers Steve Jones and Rhys Thomas, stalwarts Lewis Evans and Brok Harris, breakdown master Nic Cudd, Cory Hill – yet this is arguably the strongest collective.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Elliot DeeINFLUENTIAL: Elliot Dee

"It's probably the strongest pack that I have been involved in with the Dragons," he said. "We have got some quality here and it's paying off in games.

"We've got more talent than we've ever had. There is a lot of depth in the squad as well which creates competition for places, people know they have to play well to get out on the park.

"It's nice to play alongside a really good squad, you feed off other boys doing things in games."