DRAGONS duo Cory Hill and Elliot Dee face fitness battles to be in contention for the Six Nations clash with France.

Lock Hill came off the bench in the tournament opener against Italy but suffered a hamstring injury in training that has ruled him out of the round two trip to Ireland.

The 27-year-old was making his first international appearance since the ankle injury suffered when scoring against England last Six Nations, with a leg fracture then ruling him out of the World Cup.

South Wales Argus:

Hooker Elliot Dee, who missed the win in Cardiff with a rib problem, also sits out the clash at the Aviva Stadium because of a tight calf.

Hill’s place has gone to Adam Beard while Dee, after seeing his streak of 18 Tests ended against the Azzurri, will watch on as Ryan Elias covers Ken Owens.

The injuries have also ended any slim chances of the forwards being released for game time for the Dragons, who return to Guinness PRO14 action with a block of fixtures against Benetton next Saturday before encounters with Glasgow and the Cheetahs.

South Wales Argus:

“Cory was a leg injury and it’s a slight calf tweak for Elliot,” said head coach Wayne Pivac. “At this stage they will be coming right in the competition, it’s just whether they will be right in time for the France game and if not it will be England.”

While the two Dragons forwards are in a fitness battle for round three, their regional teammate Leon Brown will be the thick of it against Ireland.

The tighthead came off the bench against Italy and made an impact with his trademark forthright approach with ball in hand.

Brown - who was yellow carded for scrum offences in the World Cup warm-up against Ireland in Cardiff - has made strides in the set piece this season and it will be that department that is under the microscope in Dublin after Wales were on the wrong end of several decisions last weekend.

Forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys has been working hard with all the front rowers, and the management have been in contact with Six Nations refereeing chief Alain Rolland.

“We’ve looked at the scrum and reviewed it. We probably didn’t agree with all the decisions there,” said Pivac.

“A lot of those calls, you can look at an elbow or a bind on the loosehead or look at the bind on the tighthead. We see one thing, the referee sees another at times.

“That’s just part and parcel of the game but we’ve worked very hard on the scrum because we know there will be no step back this week.”

“I spoke to Alain Rolland earlier in the week and sent some clips through just for clarification,” he continued.

“It’s really, really important that we make sure we understand where the match officials are going to come from, especially at the scrum and breakdown. We have got a lot more clarity.

“We’ve done as much as we can and we will be going out with a very positive mindset in the scrums.”

Scarlets prop Samson Lee has been training with Wales because uncapped Sale Sharks tighthead Willgriff John has been troubled by a shoulder niggle. He is, however, fit to be on the bench for tonight's Premiership encounter with Saracens.