NEW boy Dan Baker will add oomph from the Dragons’ bench against Leinster this evening with boss Dean Ryan welcoming the arrival of a forward who takes the direct route.

The 28-year-old Wales international has signed until the end of the season because of a back row injury crisis.

The number eight has a chance to impress and earn a longer contract, aided by being a different sort of carrier to the likes of Ollie Griffiths, Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright.

Baker, who left the Ospreys last summer and spent the first half of the campaign in France’s second tier with Stade Montois, is a runner who doesn’t mind trying to go through rather than around traffic.

South Wales Argus: STRONG RUNNER: Dan Baker on the charge for the Ospreys against the DragonsSTRONG RUNNER: Dan Baker on the charge for the Ospreys against the Dragons

“That was a huge attraction, we've got lots of dynamic back rowers, I think we needed a bit of A to B and we have been really impressed with his impact in that area,” said director of rugby Ryan.

“He’s been playing in a different competition so he has to adapt back into what the PRO14 is but he definitely offers us something that we don’t already have.”

The Dragons are dangling the carrot of a long-term deal in front of Baker, whose career at the Ospreys was derailed by injury misfortune.

The number eight’s carrying caught the eye of Warren Gatland and he won two caps in the summer of 2013 before taking on Ireland in a 2015 World Cup warm-up.

However, Baker suffered a horror knee injury in October 2017 that needed two operations and ruled him out until September 2019, when he then suffered a should blow that sidelined him for another three months.

“He had a significant injury and he had to re-invent himself in a different tournament to keep himself playing,” said Ryan.

“This is very much an opportunity for both of us to look at each other. He’s a different option and we’ve got lots of quality in our back row, so the bar is set quite high.

“This is a great opportunity for him to come in and make a mark. On the Rodney Parade pitch, we definitely need some A to B.

South Wales Argus:

“What I have been impressed with is that isn’t all he has to offer, he’s a good footballer, he runs some good lines and has some good hands, we just got to make sure that we fit him into our system and give him the best platform and best opportunity to be successful here.”

Baker starts life at the Dragons on the bench with Ryan giving him the chance to work towards full sharpness with a cameo.

That means lock Matthew Screech lines up at blindside flanker against Leinster, joining forces with Ben Fry and Huw Taylor.

Wales international Ross Moriarty is nearing a return from ankle surgery.