ON-LOAN Lewis Jones won’t return to Cardiff to boost their numbers for their European Champions Cup campaign because he is on the comeback trail from injury with the Dragons.

The scrum-half headed to Rodney Parade this summer to cover for Gonzalo Bertranou, who was on Test duty with Argentina at the start of the campaign.

Jones played in pre-season and then started in the United Rugby Championship games against the Ospreys and Leinster.

Cardiff are down to the bare bones for next weekend’s Champions Cup clash with Toulouse at the Arms Park because the majority of their squad will be in isolation after returning from red-listed South Africa.

However, the 29-year-old will not be able to help out his parent club against the European champions in the capital.

“Lewis is still with us but he is still with us because of a torn bicep. We will be rehabbing him as part of the loan deal conditions,” said Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan.

Cardiff and the Scarlets are struggling to field teams for the European games and Ospreys chief Toby Booth said they would be happy to help out by loaning players.

The Dragons are low on numbers themselves for their French double-header against Perpignan and Lyon.

South Wales Argus: BOSS: Dragons director of rugby Dean RyanBOSS: Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan

“We’ve still got to play ourselves,” said Ryan. “We’re probably the smallest-resourced region and therefore is it appropriate that some of the people in the wings for us are playing either Bristol or Toulouse?

“Those conversations are ongoing and it is important because I remember playing away in Bordeaux with a lot of academy lads in for us and there is a balancing act between getting experiences and being safe at that level.

“The Champions Cup is a huge tournament and that’s something else administrators need to factor in – what is appropriate and what is safe.

“By all means, we’re here holding conversations with those who we can help but we need to put that in perspective.

“We’ve got to fulfil our own fixtures and, I’ll be honest, we’re struggling to do that at the moment, factoring in some of the problems we’ve got.”