WALES forward Cory Hill says there is no chance of just waltzing back into the Dragons boilerhouse because of the form of his fellow Rodney Parade locks.

The 28-year-old is now on Six Nations duty, and is aiming to return from a hamstring injury in the round three clash against France, but the region have coped without the influential forward for most of the campaign.

Joe Davies and Matthew Screech had a heavy workload at the start of the season with 21-year-old Max Williams backing them up and making eight appearances.

That was because Hill (leg fracture) and Samoa international Brandon Nansen (broken forearm) were sidelined for the opening months of the campaign and made their returns from injury in December.

Hill returned at blindside flanker and two of his five appearances have been at his specialist position of lock, while Nansen has made a solitary appearance off the bench in the win against the men from Llanelli.

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The duo may have played Test rugby in the second row but Hill insists there is no chance of breezing straight back into the XV, with the captain of last season's all-conquering Under-19s side also keeping the locks on their toes in training.

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"We are starting to build something, there is a bit of strength and depth, which is creating that culture that you don't just come back and get the jersey, you've got to work for it," said the 25-times capped forward.

"Joe and Screechy have been fantastic for the Dragons over the last couple of years, not just over the last few months.

"Then there is Max Williams pushing through as well and I have been very impressed with Ben Carter, the young lad who is out there training in our unit sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

"He is really putting his hand and that is good to see, so hopefully we can pass on our experiences to those younger guys and bring them through.

"Their time will come and Max had been involved in pretty much every game of the season. They will get their chance to get their experiences, but that good young talent coming through is pleasing to see."

Hill is out of contract this summer and his future is complicated.

The lock is on the list of 38 Test players chosen by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac that will see the Welsh Rugby Union paying 80 per cent of his wage.

However, his contract offer is decided by a panel and Hill is appealing to the governing body for a bigger salary.

The lock is on the radar of Cardiff Blues but the Arms Park region are unable to offer him a larger pay packet than the Dragons.

Eyebrows will have been raised at Rodney Parade when Blues boss John Mulvihill chose to answer questions about the lock.

"Cory Hill still hasn't made a decision of where he's playing - and a lot of these decisions, they can't be pushed, particularly at the time of year we're at at the moment with the Six Nations," said Mulvihill.

"So it's a pretty sensitive time for players and the international coaches to not be distracted by anything else, really."

Hard-hitting Nansen is also out of contract this summer and it is highly unlikely that the Samoa international will get a second deal.

The 26-year-old has been limited to just 13 outings since heading to Rodney Parade from Stade Francais because of a succession of injuries.