DRAGONS talisman Ollie Griffiths has signed a two-year contract extension to stay at Rodney Parade.

The dynamic back row forward, who is closing in on a return from ankle surgery, has agreed a new deal through to 2023.

The 25-year-old from Newbridge was capped by Wales in 2017 and featured in Wayne Pivac’s first game against the Barbarians in 2019.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan believes it is testament to the strides being made by the Dragons that Griffiths is staying where he is to push for international honours.

South Wales Argus:

“Signing our players of international calibre, which we know Ollie is, is a huge part of building the squad for the future,” said the director of rugby.

“That dynamic is not just about money or the contract, with the Dragons it's about convincing them that here is the right platform for them to keep getting better, not setting where they are at the moment as their ceiling.

“For players like Ollie and our other international players it's a really important statement that they want to do that here. We are delighted he has chosen here to continue his development.”

Griffiths returned from a hamstring injury in October and was sensational for five games - he remains top of the Dragons' turnover chart - until suffering a blow when carrying hard in the Champions Cup defeat to Wasps.

South Wales Argus:

He had an operation on his right ankle and missed the chance to push for a Six Nations place in the festive derbies, but is back running in training and eyeing a return in the coming weeks.

Griffiths has played just 12 times for Ryan but the boss was so impressed with the autumn displays that he believes Wales boss Wayne Pivac is sure to be watching closely despite his back row riches.

“I didn't realise how good he was until we saw the impact he was capable of having on recent games,” said the director of rugby.

“You can't hide from a stop-start injury record, you've got to come back and get games under your belt before you can start talking about international honours again.

“But, without a doubt, everyone will be watching the next time he is back playing, hoping that this is the time he strings some games together.

“You are never going to be injury-free, especially an athlete like Ollie. We'd hope for some of those injuries to be less dramatic, because you can't play the way he does without worrying about injury.

“Everyone will be excited as he gets more games together what he is capable of doing.”