DEAN Ryan has been around the block but even the Dragons' director of rugby was left staggered by teenage lock Ben Carter's immaculate performance in Glasgow.

The 19-year-old from Caldicot made his first professional start at Scotstoun Stadium after enjoying a cameo off the bench against Munster at the start of November.

There has been excited chat from inside the Dragons' training base about Carter for quite some time and this was a chance to get a first glimpse of the Wales Under-20s forward.

It was to be expected that the lock, who turns 20 in January, would have plenty of work-ons to go with bright moments in Glasgow. Instead he put in a superb, near-flawless display alongside the dependable Matthew Screech.

Carter's remarkable tally of 31 tackles without a miss even eclipsed in-form number eight Ollie Griffiths' tally.

It was a display that gives the bright prospect a real shot at making his European debut as part of the matchday 23 for the Champions Cup against Wasps on Saturday with Joe Davies or Joe Maksymiw in danger of missing out.

All the pieces matter, and Carter's diligence ensured he got them right at Scotstoun.

South Wales Argus:

"I never doubted that we would see his work rate," said former England forward Ryan, who was boss at Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester before heading for Rodney Parade.

"One of the challenges of bringing a youngster in is the amount that a senior player takes for granted, a youngster has to think about.

"As you'd imagine, at the start of your journey there is an awful lot going into your head and therefore there's a higher chance of getting one of those pieces wrong.

"I have never seen a youngster come in and get all of his jigsaw pieces right and then be able to work off the back of it."

Carter captained the Dragons Under-18 to a Regional Age Grade Championship triumph in 2019 and was an ever-present for Wales in last season's Under-20s Six Nations.

The next generation have been hindered by absence of Celtic Cup rugby and lack of Premiership action but Ryan has been struck by how the young lock does his homework.

"The performance in Glasgow was testimony to how hard Ben works off the field," said the director of rugby.

"He is a great example to any youngster because these guys haven't been playing A games or anything else; Ben has been learning in training and off the field.

"We were all fairly confident that he was ready but we probably did expect him to make a few errors.

"To see as clean a performance as that was incredibly impressive and testimony to how hard the modern youngster works and the amount of things that they look at."

South Wales Argus:

A theme of Ryan's reign at Rodney Parade has been his desire to keep prospects grounded – Taine Basham being a case in point – but there seems little chance of Carter giving it the big 'I am'.

"Ben is very quiet, very humble and just works very hard. He is a great representation of what we are trying to do here," said Ryan.

The Dragons are closing in on towering Wales lock Will Rowlands for next season and in Carter, who is listed as 6ft 4ins on the club's website and 6ft 6ins on the PRO14 database, they have another lump in the selection mix.

"Ben is a big man, so that helps," said Ryan. "Most of us have to work quite hard for a long time to get big.

"Ben is a big man who will get bigger and stronger. With the experience from playing, he will get better very quickly.

"I am really looking forward to seeing how he develops over the next six to 12 months."