HARD-WORKING lock Joe Davies has signed a new two-year contract with the Dragons, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 25-year-old from Caldicot has earned a fresh deal and will battle with Wales lock Will Rowlands, who is joining from Wasps, Joe Maksymiw, Ben Carter and Max Williams for starting spots.

The future of stalwart Matthew Screech remains uncertain; the 28-year-old from Porth is out of contract this summer and he is on the radar of Cardiff.

However, Davies has signed up for more action with the Dragons after becoming a mainstay of the second row under Dean Ryan to take his number of appearances to 78.

“We’re pleased another important homegrown talent has committed his future,” said the director of rugby, with Davies following Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright, Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths, Ben Carter and Aneurin Owen in agreeing fresh terms.

“Joe is a hard-working and committed member of our squad who is determined to help us achieve our long-term aspirations.”

Davies made his Dragons debut as a 17-year-old against the Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2013, partnering former Wales international Adam Jones.

The Wales Under-20s forward’s progress was stalled by injuries – notably to both shoulders, requiring surgery – but he has been a regular for the past four campaigns.

“I’m really pleased to re-sign for my home region and excited about what we can achieve as a squad going forward,” said Davies.

“It’s been an unusual season for us all, but I do feel we’ve made real progress and can look forward with confidence.

“It’s meant a huge amount to me to play for the Dragons over the last seven seasons and I’ll continue to give everything I have to play a big role in our development.”

Whether Davies will be battling Screech for a start in the coming years will become clear in the coming weeks.

Cardiff are interesting in re-signing the lock, who they released in 2013 along with Cory Hill.

Screech signed for Bedwas before swiftly earning a full-time Dragons contract and has gone on to make 157 appearances.