CAPTAIN Rhodri Williams says the Dragons squad must match the standards set by the summer Test arrivals or they risk being left behind by boss Dean Ryan.

The Rodney Parade region play for the first time since the start of March when they take on the Ospreys in Swansea on Sunday (kick-off 2.15pm).

The Dragons then finish the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 with a home clash with the Scarlets the following weekend before the European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Bristol on Friday, September 18.

Ryan’s back line has been boosted by the arrivals of Wales internationals Jamie Roberts, Nick Tompkins and Jonah Holmes, while lock Joe Maksymiw has joined to boost the pack.

“The new boys have been very, very good,” said scrum-half Williams, who signed from Bristol in 2018. “We won’t hide away from the fact that we have had a successful summer in terms of recruitment.

“There’s some high quality and when someone arrives of Jamie’s calibre, with 94 caps and all the experience he has got, it makes a difference.

South Wales Argus:

“Nick has come from a club like Saracens (on a year-long loan), so he demands the best. He has grown up in a winning side, so he brings that attitude and perspective.

“I feel like we’ve strengthened in all areas and now it is about putting it all together. It’s an exciting time to be a Dragon.

“Players come in and raise the bar and competition levels - you have to go with that or get left behind.

“We talk about a long-term plan so boys like Jamie and Nick will bring on the youngsters, filter that experience down and help us to get stronger.”

Williams & Co have been back in Ystrad Mynach since the start of July after previously being given personalised training regimes.

Things have gone up a notch ahead of the derby double with the skipper battling with Tavis Knoyle and Luke Baldwin for the 9 jersey.

South Wales Argus:

“We’re building nicely and we’ve had plenty of time over lockdown to strip things back and build on the season we’ve had so far. Hopefully we can now deliver when we restart,” said the Wales international.

“You can see the intensity is cranking up, players are aware the games are just around the corner and everyone wants to be involved.

“It’s been like a pre-season for us, which is never the nicest time of the year, but it’s about getting the small pieces, that make all the difference in games, spot on.

“Sessions are getting tough, but it’s what we need so we are ready to go. We’ve spoken as a group that it’s all about the long-term plan, but that is not taking away from these next two league games.

“They are Welsh derbies so the boys will be well up for them before we have a quarter-final in Europe. These games matter so we are excited about this period.”

Williams was a try scorer when the Dragons headed to the Liberty Stadium last season and hopes his side can hit the ground running in their first game since losing to Benetton on Friday, March 6.

“It’s been a while since a match week, but we have built that into our planning so it won’t come as a shock,” said Williams.

“We can’t just jump in the deep end so we have been gearing up for the return to playing – but ask me 30 minutes into the first game and I might give you a different answer!”