DRAGONS target Jonah Holmes has been allowed to hold talks about a return to Wales but Leicester say the speedster in under contract and any move has to be in their best interests.

BBC Radio Leicester reported on Wednesday that the Tigers are resigned to the 27-year-old wing/full-back leaving in order further his Test ambitions but, as was stressed in the Argus, it is far from a done deal.

Leicester director of rugby Geordan Murphy acknowledged in a club update that Holmes has held talks with the Welsh Rugby Union.

Under a new funding model they will pay 80 per cent of the wages of 38 chosen Test players – which would make the speedster an attractive signing for the Dragons.

However, there are many barriers yet to be crossed and the Tigers would be keen to have another proven winger lined up as a replacement given that England wing Jonny May is leaving for Gloucester.

“Jonah has spoken to the WRU and they have made it their goal to get as many of their top 38 players back to play in their provinces as possible,” Murphy said.

“We do not stand in anyone’s way but he is under contract and we will do what is best for the Tigers. He is contracted to Tigers and we’ll see how that progresses.”

The Daily Mail reported that Leicester players are in dispute with the club’s board over the method of pay cuts because of the coronavirus crisis, raising the possibility of unlawful deduction of wages constituting a breach of contract and allowing stars to leave for nothing.

Murphy confirmed talks have taken place between the squad and the hierarchy but that they were constructive conversations to work through the situation together.

South Wales Argus:

Stockport-born Holmes, who qualifies through his grandmother from Cwmllynfell, was first called up by Warren Gatland in 2018 and has made three international appearances.

The former scrum-half was selected in the Six Nations squad by new boss Wayne Pivac but failed to appear in the tournament, with Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Josh Adams, Liam Williams and Johnny McNicholl ahead of him in the pecking order.

Holmes, whose last cap was against Ireland in the World Cup warm-up clash in Cardiff, could head to Rodney Parade in a bid to climb the pecking order.

That’s where Wayne Pivac’s 38-man list comes into play as the Dragons are operating on a small budget and have more pressing needs than another back three player.

If the Wales head coach has a spot left then director of rugby Ryan would be happy to stump up 20 per cent of the wages to have a Test-quality wing/full-back in Holmes, who has scored 24 tries in 45 games for Leicester.

The Dragons currently have Jordan Williams, Ashton Hewitt, Jared Rosser, Owen Jenkins, Rio Dyer and Will Talbot-Davies as senior options.

The region are yet to confirm any new recruits for next season and no announcements are likely in the coming weeks as they could be considered poorly-timed when Welsh professional rugby is cost-cutting because of the coronavirus pandemic.