MAX Williams is set to return to being a back row forward at the Dragons after enjoying a strong World Rugby U20 Championship with Wales as a lock.

The 20-year-old from Newport was given a taste of professional rugby by the Rodney Parade region last season, making his debut off the bench in the Guinness PRO14 opener against Leinster and going on to make eight appearances.

Williams was used primarily as a blindside flanker but the athletic forward has played lock when wearing the red of Wales.

He started four of the Six Nations games in the second row and then four of five encounters at the U20 Championship as the Welsh prospects finished seventh.

However, the promising prospect is likely to return to being a flanker/lock in the coming campaign rather than a lock/flanker.

"We think that he is a really good athlete who can play both," said head coach Bernard Jackman.

"We want to upskill him as a back row forward first and if that doesn't work out then his improved skillset from having been a back rower will be advantageous to him as a second row.

"At under-20s level he is the biggest guy that Wales have so they want him in the second row, but he is not the biggest guy that we have.

"I think for his development it will be good to get game time in the back row. Hopefully that will help him as he pushes forward.

"We are not 100 per cent sure where he will end up, but we see him as a 6 that can play lock, who potentially will be a lock who can play 6 as he gets older.

"The plan is that we should be okay in the second row with Cory Hill, Brandon Nansen, Joe Davies, Rynard Landman and Matthew Screech, who is back fit again, then there is Huw Taylor and Sheekey who can play both."

Williams was part of a seven-strong Dragons contingent at the World Rugby U20 Championship, joined by wings Joe Goodchild and Rio Dyer, tighthead Chris Coleman and back row forwards Taine Basham, Lennon Greggains and Ben Fry.

Last season a raft of young prospects got opportunities in the first team but the plan is that the coming campaign will see them developing in the new Dragons A team, who are set to lock horns with Welsh and Irish rivals.

"We will have a young group [in the A team], and those Under-20s from the World Cup will be senior players in that and will have an important role to play," said Jackman.

"Last season with injuries and giving everybody a chance, we just didn't have a settled team but now we will have a settled hierarchy of the first team. Guys will have to go really well to get into that."

l New recruit Nansen won his second cap for Samoa in their 28-18 loss to Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup last weekend.

The 24-year-old from Auckland, who is heading for Rodney Parade from Stade Francais, came off the bench for the final quarter of the clash in Suva.

Nansen made his Samoa debut against Romania last autumn and will hope to feature at next year’s World Cup against hosts Japan, Ireland Scotland and Russia.

The Samoans face a two-leg play-off with Germany, the first encounter taking place in Apia at the end of the month with the decider a fortnight later.

The Tests mean that strong-running Nansen, who has been tracked by Jackman for a long time thanks to his exploits with North Harbour in New Zealand’s ITM Cup, will link up late with his new Dragons teammates.