THE Dragons hope to have Harrison Keddie back to counter the loss of Taine Basham in Cardiff on Saturday - with boss Dean Ryan angry about head shots on the back row duo.

The Rodney Parade region will be without Basham and fellow Wales back rowers Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty for the trip to the Arms Park (kick-off 5.15pm).

Locks Will Rowlands and Ben Carter plus hooker Elliot Dee will also be missing because of international duty ahead of the autumn opener against New Zealand a week on Saturday.

The Dragons will be forced into changes up front and the return of Keddie would be a welcome boost after he sat out the loss to Stormers because of a head injury.

The flanker had to go through the return to play protocols after leaving the field in the first half of the win against Connacht in Galway.

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen and TMO AJ Jacobs looked at an incident in the 17th minute when the captain carried hard and there appeared to be head-on-head contact with home lock Oisin Dowling.

However, they deemed it wasn't worthy of further action after saying it was contact to the body.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Dragons back rower Harri KeddieBACK: Dragons back rower Harri Keddie

"He came off with an HIA and given the numbers we have [in the back row] he is not someone I wanted to push to a six-day return," said Dragons director of rugby Ryan.

"We are pretty unhappy with the circumstances of the HIA, there was a quite clear TMO around the head on head. We have had no response to that other than they didn't believe it was the case.

"Well, we've got our captain out with quite clear HIA problems from that contact. I was under the impression that that is what World Rugby is trying to protect us from.

"There was no mitigation in that instance, so we were disappointed on the day and in the outcome for Harrison."

Basham has headed to Wales camp on the back of two dynamic displays at openside flanker, following up his man of the match display in Galway with a combative effort in the 24-10 loss to the Stormers.

The 21-year-old from Talywain was involved in a first-half flashpoint when carrying the ball and hit by a crunching Salmaan Moerat tackle.

Italian referee Gianluca Gnecchi and TMO Emanuele Tomo deemed it was worthy of a yellow card, with Basham dropping his height before being caught on the chin by the left shoulder of the lock, who has been called up for South Africa's autumn tour.

"Taine did well to stand up to that shot," said Ryan. "That is the second week in a row that we have had a head shot on somebody.

"Last week they didn't bother with it and this week it was deemed to be a yellow card. I thought that it was quite clear, but that would give an easy headline."

Ryan is the latest coach to voice displeasure at officiating in the early rounds of the URC with the competition not currently having a referees' manager in place after the departure of Greg Garner.

Connacht were victims of what coach Andy Friend called an "inexcusable error" when Munster scored after being offside from a kick through while the South African sides have frequently been exasperated by decisions.

The Dragons are without six Wales players in their pack this weekend with Keddie, Ollie Griffiths and Ben Fry in pole position to start in the back row.

Locks Joe Davies and Joe Maksymiw are likely to join forces with Ellis Shipp, Taylor Davies and Richard Hibbard options at hooker.