ELLIOT Dee was happy to play his part in proving the doubters wrong on Wales’ summer tour, and it’s likely he will have to fill a similar role with the Dragons this season.

The hooker, who played in all three of his country’s Test matches in June, won’t feature for the Men of Gwent in their home friendly against Northampton Saints tonight (kick-off 7.30pm) but should at Gloucester next Thursday.

It is because of his exertions with Wales across the Atlantic that Rodney Parade boss Bernard Jackman has given 10-cap Dee extra time to recharge his batteries.

Dee is likely to start the Dragons’ Guinness PRO14 opener with Benetton on September 1, as Jackman’s men bid to kick off a campaign they hope will be a great deal better than the last.

While there has been an influx of new faces, the Dragons, based on previous performances, will no doubt be favourites with many to again finish worse off than the other Welsh regions.

But Dee, 24, is confident that things could be different this time around.

“Things are looking really good, really exciting,” he said.

“On a personal note, last season couldn’t really have gone any better.

“I would have liked to have racked up a few more wins and made a few more good memories in the Dragons jersey.

“But I’m sure that will come this season, and with the players we’ve signed things are looking on the up.

“There’s certainly a good buzz here and if you look around the squad now there’s a lot more depth than there has been in recent years.

“You need depth in the squad to create competition and ultimately get performances on the weekend.”

He added: “Professional sport is all about results. It’s a team game and the team has to do well.

“This season we’re certainly looking to put some wrongs right and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re expected to get off to a good start with three home games in September.

“There’s a bit of pressure on us to perform and with the signings we’ve made everyone is expecting a big change.

“From the way we’re looking in training, I’m very confident we can get off to a good start.

“The biggest difference is looking around and seeing how many good players we have in each position, not just one or two who you know are definitely going to start.

“There’s genuinely three or four in each position who could fit in and there wouldn’t be any difference in the way we would play.”

As for the Wales tour, which featured two wins against Argentina and one over South Africa, Dee said: “It was a great tour for everyone really.

“The younger boys gelled as a unit and there’s no better feeling than proving a few people wrong.

“I read a few articles before the first Argentina game and we were expected to get steamrollered and to go out there and prove a point was brilliant.

“I haven’t had too much personal feedback. Reflecting on it, I was happy with the way it went.

“I would have liked to have played all three games.

“It was great that the tour was used to give boys with not much experience, like myself, exposure to that stage.

“The South Africa game was tough and probably the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in, I think it was about 35C and absolutely hammering down with rain.

“It was brilliant to win three out of three and exceed everyone’s expectations.”