THE Dragons will be without Will Rowlands for their United Rugby Championship clash against Zebre but are hopeful that the Wales lock will be back for derby clashes.

The Rodney Parade region will be attempting to avoid becoming their winless Italian hosts' first victims of the season in Parma on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.05pm).

Zebre are likely to target them in the tight after the Scarlets earned a 38-19 win through their scrum and lineout at Rodney Parade after trailing 19-17 on the hour.

The Dragons missed the presence of Wales Rowlands after he was forced off in the first half and swiftly put an ice pack on his left shoulder.

The 30-year-old will not travel to Italy but is eyeing a return for the derbies against the Ospreys and Cardiff as he looks to prove a point.

Rowlands was controversially left on the bench for Wales' Six Nations finale despite a strong championship and could go up against Adam Beard and Alun Wyn Jones, his rivals for starts in South Africa this summer, in Swansea.

South Wales Argus: INJURED: Wales and Dragons lock Will RowlandsINJURED: Wales and Dragons lock Will Rowlands

"Will is in significant discomfort with his AC joint," said Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan. "Everyone that has seen him this season will know that for him to leave the field it must be significant.

"He picked it up the week before and when you are carrying something suddenly it tends to be pretty quick that it gets hit in a game.

"He won't be available this week but he is very keen to play in all of the derbies to keep pushing here and keep pushing the Wales selectors."

The Dragons are likely to pair Joe Davies and Ben Carter in the second row while Joe Maksymiw, who is set to leave this summer after the signings of Sean Lonsdale and George Nott, could come onto the bench.

Loosehead Aki Seiuli and back row forward Aaron Wainwright were forced off by injury against the Scarlets and Ryan & Co are yet to ink in their matchday 23.

"We have a few bumps and bruises and we will be as late as we can making those decisions," he said.

The Dragons are still without Wales back rower Ross Moriarty after he suffered a knee injury against the Sharks in South Africa.

He missed the European Challenge Cup clash with his former club Gloucester as well as the URC double-header with the Scarlets, with Ryan unable to say whether a derby return is likely.

South Wales Argus: INJURED: Ross MoriartyINJURED: Ross Moriarty

"We don't know. I have seen nerve damage in shoulders before and he has something similar in his leg," said the boss.

"It's not something where you go 'in three weeks this will have behaved like this'. That's frustrating for Ross because he's keen to get back out on the field but it's difficult to give updates with any accuracy."

Wing Ashton Hewitt is nearing a return from ruptured knee ligaments that have led to him being on the sidelines for a year.

The winger was a member of the touring part in South Africa and could enjoy some morale-boosting game time ahead of next season.

"Ashton is desperate to play but we have got to make sure we get things right," said Ryan.

"It might be right that he plays in the next few weeks but we need to make sure it's in Ashton's best interests."