ASHTON Hewitt has said he’s ready and raring to go for the new season after recovering from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Dragons winger has been out for more than a year after he suffered a serious knee injury when scoring against Northampton in April 2021.

Scans revealed that he ruptured both his anterior cruciate ligament and his medial collateral ligament.

But having returned to training for pre-season, the 27-year-old has offered an update on his progress.

“[It’s been] real good,” he told Dragons TV. “I’ve enjoyed it.

“I haven’t trained with the boys for a long time now. It’s just good to get back out there, get out with the boys, chucking the ball around as if things were normal.

“It’s a bit different to running on my own every day, gym-ing on my own every day and doing my rehab. It’s good just to get amongst the boys and have a bit of a laugh.

“My body is feeling it, because it’s been a while since I’ve trained and done a pre-season. But it shows the graft has paid off and I’m back to it now.”

Since Hewitt’s last appearance, Dai Flanagan has been appointed as head coach, with Dean Ryan moving upstairs.

“Dai’s come in. All the boys are looking to impress,” he said. “The standards are up a bit I’d say. Training is intense.

“It’s about hitting the ground running and getting into it, trying to put my hand up ready for the start of the season and those pre-season games and trying to get back to where I left off.

“It’s a freshen-up next week, taking some time to recover after this first block, and then we up it again – fitness is a key part of pre-season obviously – but all the elements of my game to make sure that I’ve touched on everything before I come back.”

The Men of Gwent will prepare for the season by welcoming Bristol Bears and Wasps to Rodney Parade on August 26 and September 2 respectively, and Hewitt has set his sights on a return to the starting line-up.

“I can’t wait, especially for a home game,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve stepped on Rodney Parade. That will get me excited and get me clicking for the season. I just can’t wait.

“It’s been amazing on social media having fans constantly asking how I am and when I’m back.

“That’s adding to that motivation to get back.

“I love playing at Rodney Parade more than anywhere, so hopefully for the start of the season we can get the fans out in force and the Dragons can show what we’ve been working on over the off season and start off strong.

“I’m fully fit and raring to go.”