DRAGONS winger Jared Rosser is ready to hit top gear after a campaign hindered by the latest of pre-season blows.

The 22-year-old from Abersychan was poised to reap the rewards from a summer of graft only to suffer a fractured fibula in the build-up to the summer curtain-raiser against the Scarlets.

It meant that Rosser, who had a one in three strike rate for the Dragons, was forced to watch on from the sidelines until the final game of 2019.

"It was two games before the Scarlets, so you work hard for all of pre-season and then do that right at the end," said the winger.

"I was gutted and it was a new experience for me because it was my first proper injury. Going through that was worthwhile I suppose, I now understand the rehab side of things.

"With a fractured bone you just have to let it heal, it was just a matter time and making sure I was fit when coming back into training."

South Wales Argus:

Rosser returned against Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day, kept his place for the win against the Ospreys last weekend and will line up versus Castres in today's vital European Challenge Cup encounter in France.

He said: "First game back and I was up against (Wales World Cup star) Josh Adams, so that was a good experience!

"I am just finding my feet now and could do with carrying on. I am glad to be back and now want to get games under my belt."

His injury opened the door for Owen Jenkins, the Wales Sevens international who had only meant to be with the Dragons for the Celtic Cup campaign but became a regular for Ryan's seniors.

The 26-year-old is sidelined until February after suffering an ankle injury against the Scarlets that needed an operation but it came as no surprise to Rosser that his international teammate has been such a hit.

"I know what Owen can bring after playing with him for Wales Sevens," said Rosser. "He took me under his wing when I jumped into that, so it's nice to have him around the camp.

"Wingers (in sevens) are up against some of the best finishers in the game and there is so much space on the field that you really have to understand your surroundings in defence. It helped me a lot."

South Wales Argus:

He may have just turned 22 but Rosser is the most experienced member of the back three at the Stade Pierre-Fabre, joining forces with 20-year-old Rio Dyer and makeshift full-back Jacob Botica, the fly-half who is making his first professional start.

"We have been unfortunate with injuries but when you get an opportunity to play you need to just take your chance and show Dean and the other coaches what you can bring to the table," said Rosser.

"With the injuries that we've got it does open doors for younger boys and we saw with Rio last weekend what they can do with a chance.

"There are a lot of areas of your game that you perhaps can't really work on until you are exposed on the main pro stage.

"That experience can be quite daunting but then the coaches and experienced players – like Zane Kirchner, Hallam Amos, Ashton Hewitt when I was coming through – talk to you and help out a lot."

The Dragons take on Castres knowing that victory will secure Pool One top spot with a game, against minnows Enisei-STM in Newport, to spare.

Even if it's a pointless trip to France then Ryan's men will still be right in the mix for the last eight as one of the three best runners-up.

"We will be all guns blazing for the next two weeks, we know that we have a job to do and this is a really big game," said Rosser.

"We are really excited and understand what we need to do, we are looking forward to it."