WALES back row forward Ross Moriarty is set to make his return for the Dragons in their Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre on Saturday evening.

While his Test teammates line up against England in the Six Nations, the 26-year-old is poised to take the field at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (kick-off 5.15pm).

Moriarty's last game was the home game against Zebre at the start of October and he has been out of action since suffering an injury to his right ankle on Wales duty in the autumn.

He was set to feature in the Autumn Nations Cup fixture against Ireland only to suffer a setback that led to an operation at the end of November.

The Dragons could have a double back row boost for the trip to Zebre with Moriarty in contention and Harrison Keddie likely to start after returning to training after a head injury.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan revealed dynamic back rower Ollie Griffiths is also "on the horizon" but that they need to be cautious.

09.10.20 - Dragons v Zebre - Guinness PRO14 - Ross Moriarty of Dragons.


"Ross is closer, Ollie is probably a couple of weeks away," he said.

"We have got to make sure we get it right because we have been without some influential players for a long time now and we don't want to chase that too quickly and lose them again.

"What I like about Ross in training is that he is vocal and contributes a huge amount.

"He finds that difficult when he is injured and probably underestimates how influential he is on everybody else.

"Ross likes to be back running and ready to play to be that person; he is reticent to be that voice when he is not playing.

"His impact is huge, not only in his contributions but the security of hearing his voice on the field and his motivation of others. Having him back as an option is significant."

The return of the 2017 Lions tourist would be a huge boost as the Dragons attempt to end a seven-game losing streak.

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan

Ryan's squad haven't triumphed since the shock success in Glasgow at the start of December but pushed champions Leinster hard when beaten 35-29 at Rodney Parade last Friday.

This weekend's fixture, which kicks off half an hour after Wales get under way against England, is key to the Dragons' scrap with the Warriors for fourth place in Conference A.

That could potentially lead to Champions Cup qualification and Ryan knows his side have to produce the goods after giving the PRO14's top team a scare.

"Getting the Dragons to compete against the best sides is a crucial stage in us getting better," he said.

"We have to accept that sometimes we are not in the same place as those sides and we have to continue to learn.

"I think that we have done that quite well but what we have got to do is convert those opportunities when we might be more competitive like this weekend.

"There is always the desire to win and there will be an expectation to convert that into a W."

Lock Matthew Screech is unlikely to play after a head injury against Leinster when he started as a makeshift blindside.