JOE Davies becomes a Dragons centurion in Italy this afternoon and is up for the fight to keep adding to his tally despite a pair of summer arrivals to the boilerhouse.

The 26-year-old replaces injured Wales international Will Rowlands in the XV in Parma, joining forces with bright prospect Ben Carter in the second row.

Davies will make his 100th outing for the Dragons but knows he will have to up his game to keep adding the appearances next season.

Sean Lonsdale and George Nott arrive from Exeter and London Irish respectively as director of rugby Dean Ryan tries to beef up his pack with a pair of English Premiership locks.

On the face of it, Davies will be fifth in line but the forward from Caldicot isn’t grumbling.

South Wales Argus: Joe Davies in action for the DragonsJoe Davies in action for the Dragons

“I like I like the challenge. I like the competitiveness,” he said. “I don't want to get comfortable, knowing I'm playing just because I'm the only player left.

“I don't want that as a player, you want the challenge. I'm looking forward to a bit more of a challenge again next year.

“I don't want to be sat in my own comfort zone, I have done in the past and it's not gone well.

“But on the opposite end of it, I can’t worry and stress too much.

“I just have to go and do what I do best, be as good I can be and then try and improve myself in other areas where I'm not as competent as other people.”

Davies has been a regular under Ryan, racking up 21 appearances in his past two seasons and 13 so far in 2021/22.

“Last season I felt like I finished on a high and then knew coming into this season it was going to be a more of a challenge, especially with Ben Carter and Will Rowlands around,” he said.

“It’s taken me a bit of time this season to get to where I want to be but I feel like I'm getting back to where I was, and hopefully you keep on that trajectory or better.”

Davies is a self-confessed workhorse, a player unlikely to feature prominently on highlights reels, but the Dragons have struggled of late in areas he loves.

South Wales Argus: GRAFTER: Lock Joe Davies, in the red scrum cap, working hard in defence for the Dragons at the Ospreys

“I know what I'm good at. I know what I like to do. I love scrum, love maul, love the nitty gritty sort of stuff,” he said.

“The dark arts is what I like, it’s what I feel I'm good at and I do take it to heart when it doesn't go right.

“It might not necessarily be my error at a certain time causing something, but it's my little piece of the game.

“One slip-up or role error and they get another five metres and then it's a penalty and or a yellow card at some points.”

“Zebre are a 70 per cent drive-focussed team,” he continued. “Teams might think they're messy, but they're big, they're heavy and they will put the squeeze on at scrum and at lineout drive time.

“We really need to focus on getting our jobs right this this week and really laying down a marker.

“We need to go there with a with a possession focus, keep hold of the ball and not throw the ball around for the sake of it.

“We need to earn in the right to play and when we when we earned that we can go and express ourselves.”

Davies made his Dragons debut at the Scarlets in 2013, joining forces with former Wales lock Adam Jones and being replaced by Robert Sidoli.

“It’s a nice milestone and hopefully it will feel a bit sweeter at the end of the game with a nice win out there,” he said.

“It’s my home region and every kid that loves playing rugby wants to achieve that kind of milestone.”