RICHARD Hibbard says he remains excited by the potential at the Dragons – but knows that the region's talent cannot flourish in a losing culture.

The former Wales and Lions hooker has been a big hit on and off the field since arriving from Gloucester last summer.

The 35-year-old has made 21 appearances, put in plenty of trademark big hits and captained the side in the absence of Test star Cory Hill.

However, the arrival of Hibbard and fellow international recruits Ross Moriarty, Aaron Jarvis, Rhodri Williams, Ryan Bevington and Brandon Nansen has failed to result in dramatic change of fortunes.

The Dragons sit bottom of Conference B in the Guinness PRO14 and are in a tussle with the Southern Kings and Zebre to avoid having the league's lowest tally.

They have won six of 24 games this season and their nightmare PRO14 losing streak on the road has stretched to four years and 42 fixtures.

Hibbard believes the next generation provides some hope but knows a losing culture will not unlock their potential.

South Wales Argus:

"There is huge potential here, look at some of the young boys coming through," said Hibbard, who made his Ospreys debut in 2004.

"It's about keeping them and nurturing them with experience and the right players around the squad. It's about helping them to grow.

"The youngsters are great but it's about growing in the right way now and you don't want to be in an environment where you are always losing. If we can get wins then it does help with the progression.

"It's good to be part of something when you see the potential and see what can happen.

"I am frustrated that it is slowly happening rather than it speeding up, but we are having small wins that people don't always see and that is important for this team going forward."

Hibbard has slotted in next to a bright prospect in the front row, packing down next to Wales tighthead Leon Brown.

The 22-year-old endured a frustrating spell on the sidelines because of a broken thumb but after being an unused member of Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad he made his first start since October against the Ospreys last weekend.

South Wales Argus:

"Leon is a hell of a specimen," said Hibbard about the five-times capped prop. "He has been unlucky with injuries and doesn't really know how good he can be.

"It's great to have him back in the squad and next to you in the scrum, you know he is there because he is a hell of a presence!

"With his position and age it is just about game time. You will have dark days at the scrum when you get done by a more experienced guy or the rub of the green goes against you, but it's all about growing and learning in his position.

"Leon runs hard, tackles hard and scrums hard, and he is a big boy to do that, so there is no doubt he is going to be a very good player."