WALES lock Ben Carter will be out until at least March after suffering a “severe” hamstring injury for the Dragons against the Ospreys.

The 22-year-old from Caldicot went off in the first quarter of the United Rugby Championship derby win at Rodney Parade.

Carter, who was in Wales' World Cup training squad, will now be sidelined for a big chunk of the Dragons’ campaign.

Not only will he miss the festive derbies and the group stages of the European Challenge Cup but the 11-times capped lock, who played against the Barbarians at the start of the month, won't be able to feature in the Six Nations.

South Wales Argus: Dragons lock Ben Carter makes a tackle against the OspreysDragons lock Ben Carter makes a tackle against the Ospreys (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"It's a severe hamstring tear and we are probably looking at three or four months," said head coach Dai Flanagan.

"He is meeting a specialist in London to see exactly what we need to do but it is a long-term injury.

"It's a shame for Ben, he has got the work rate of two men and it's important that whoever replaces him brings the same work rate in attack and defence.

"A Ben Carter is needed in every team, that second row who just keeps working and working so that other people can flourish."

Carter was hit after the whistle at the breakdown and immediately called for help before limping off.

“He was jackaling and it's a horrible mechanism for a tall man like Ben over the ball. The stretch of his hamstring was not nice to watch,” said Flanagan.

“Ben is a young man and we just need to get this right for the longevity of his career.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Dragons lock Ben CarterINFLUENTIAL: Dragons lock Ben Carter (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The Dragons have Matthew Screech and Joe Davies as specialist options plus George Nott, Sean Lonsdale and Ryan Woodman as flanker/locks.

Promising Newport lock Barny Langton-Cryer, who made his debut at Munster in round three, is also sidelined with a foot injury.

The club had looked to bolster their ranks over the summer after losing powerhouse Wales lock Will Rowlands to Racing 92 and had a deal secured with South African Deon Slabbert.

However, the 23-year-old pulled out due to family reasons and is now on loan at the Bulls from the Currie Cup runners-up Pumas.

The Dragons must now cope without Carter but Flanagan hopes the lock, who has racked up 51 club appearances and won 11 caps since his 2020 debut, will profit from an enforced break.

“Look at how we managed Ryan Woodman with an extended three-month break after the World Rugby U20 Championship, Ben has never had that in his career,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for Ben to have a rest, recover, learn a bit more about the game and physically develop.”