HE may be chasing a title with the Scarlets but prop Phil Price will still look back at this season with a tinge of disappointment after feeling he was "let down" by the Dragons despite nine years of service.

Last summer the stalwart loosehead returned to prepare for another campaign at Rodney Parade under a new boss after Bernard Jackman took the reins from Kingsley Jones.

The 29-year-old from Bridgend had two main aims – to play seven times to pass Adam Black as the prop with the most appearances for the region and to enjoy two more starts to record a century.

He didn't manage either.

Price made just two appearances, both from the bench in the losses at Edinburgh and Ulster in the Guinness PRO14 in September. He played the last 11 minutes at Myreside and got half an hour in Belfast.

No more chances came and after four months on the sidelines, getting the occasion outing with Newport and Bargoed in the Premiership, Price jumped at a chance to go on trial in Llanelli.

"I don't feel like I got a fair chance. I though pre-season was going well, I had a friendly out in Montpellier and things went downhill from there," said Price.

"I had two opportunities off the bench against Edinburgh and Ulster but don't feel I had a crack playing with our strongest team. I don't really know the reasons for that.

"My last game was Ulster in September and what kind of showed me what was happening was the Anglo-Welsh Cup against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade (in November), when I was hoping to get a game.

"We had just had our first baby but I came back early from paternity leave to play that game, then they started a youngster (Josh Reynolds) instead of me. That made it clear that I wasn't going to get a game again.

"I am just disappointed. I was here nine years and dedicated a lot of time to the Dragons and feel a bit let down by the club.

"I wanted to go out on a high and have the chance to get those milestones in my career. It's something that I'll never get to achieve now."

Down about the way he felt he was being treated on the field, Price was also disillusioned by what happened off it when celebrating the arrival of his daughter Phoebe six months ago.

"I was disappointed because I had my first baby then two of the other lads had theirs and had flowers sent to their homes with cards and public congratulations. Me and Sian had nothing at all, to me that was personal and one of the worst things," he said.

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But from being down and wondering what the future held, an opportunity arrived with the Scarlets.

The champions were without Rob Evans and Wyn Jones for the Six Nations and brought him in on trial, then extended the loan when Jones suffered a hamstring tear against Ireland.

Price not only earned a contract through to this summer but head coach Wayne Pivac handed him a two-year deal.

"That's the way rugby goes," said Price. "You go from the frustration and disappointment to enjoying the game again.

"Having the opportunity out west has restarted that fire in me to really look to achieve things. To be chasing the title is great and it's all to play for.

"There was a lot of pressure on us as a family when I went there on loan because I was chasing a contract.

"I was on a two-week trial under pressure to perform. It was hard but brought the best out of me, so they extended the loan with a view to offering me something if I carried on performing well.

"It all worked out in the end."

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And Price can reflect on sterling service to the Dragons after making the move east from the Ospreys academy.

He made a solitary appearance in 2009/10, as a green 20-year-old against Glasgow in the Heineken Cup, but then became a mainstay the following season when featuring in 26 of 33 fixtures.

Price went on to make 159 appearances for the Dragons, a tally that only Ashley Smith (161), Jason Tovey (163), Black (163), Steve Jones (180) and Lewis Evans (211) can better.

"I came here not having a contract initially, I'd signed for Bedwas with the opportunity to train with the Dragons for no money," he said.

"I just worked hard and on the back of that a development contract came. I never looked back and nine years have gone by.

"It was great playing the big teams in France, like Toulouse and the semi-final with Montpellier, but the quarter-final at Gloucester was amazing.

"To win a tight game like that at the end with a driving maul try must go down as my best memory."