THE Dragons are done for 2023 and are hoping for brighter times in the new year, with plenty of homegrown talent looking to take the next step towards being regulars.

The Rodney Parade club have already leaned heavily on youngsters this season – especially when down to the bare bones for the United Rugby Championship trip to Munster – and performances suggest it would be wise to look to the next generation.

With Welsh professional clubs operating with a £4.5million salary, the Dragons will need academy prospects to fill gaps in their squad and will be keen to give youth a chance alongside some older heads.

Here are some of the up-and-coming players ready for the next step…

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Dragons forward Ryan WoodmanTALENT: Dragons forward Ryan Woodman (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Arguably the brightest prospect on the books and the Wales Under-20s captain has already been worked towards the first team.

The blindside, who has also played lock for Newport RFC in the Premiership, is already knocking loudly on the door for more regular action.

The 19-year-old made a pair of replacement appearances last season, scored on his full debut at Munster and impressed as a starter against Oyonnax and Pau in Europe.

On the bench for the New Year's Day derby against the Scarlets.

Also in the back row, George Young will look to learn from Dan Lydiate and then show his toughness when called upon.


The Dragons boast a pair of Wales hooker on their books in Bradley Roberts and Elliot Dee but Coghlan has done well whenever called up.

The feisty front rower isn’t shy in putting himself about in training and is also combative on the park.

The 23-year-old has been given limited action this season so will need to grasp opportunities when they come to earn more games, the first of which is against the Scarlets as a replacement.

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Harri Ackerman (left) celebrates the Dragons final try against OyonnaxTALENT: Harri Ackerman (left) celebrates the Dragons final try against Oyonnax (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


The centres are highly-rated by the Dragons coaches and look impressive at Premiership level.

Ackerman made his Dragons debut off the bench against Oyonnax earlier this month after returning from a shoulder injury suffered playing for Newport in the Premiership Cup final. Now he starts against the Scarlets in a huge opportunity.

Westwood would no doubt have also been a contender for some action but is on the comeback trail after a blow on duty for the Black and Ambers in October.

The pair will move up the pecking order next season with Max Clark set for the exit and question marks over Sio Tomkinson, who hasn’t hit the heights since arriving from the Highlanders in the summer of 2022.

South Wales Argus: LEARNING: Newport scrum-half Che Hope (Image: NCR Photography)LEARNING: Newport scrum-half Che Hope (Image: NCR Photography) (Image: NCR Photography)


Succession planning has meant that Wales Under-20s scrum-halves Hope and Lloyd have got plenty of game time for Newport and Pontypool respectively.

They will keep racking up the minutes before moving up a level in the summer when they will be the back-up for Rhodri Williams and Dane Blacker.

Argentina international Gonzalo Bertranou is out of contract and cost-cutting surely makes it hard to justify offering fresh terms while Lewis Jones has been a fringe figure.

South Wales Argus: CHANCE: Dragons wing Ewan RosserCHANCE: Dragons wing Ewan Rosser (Image: Huw Evans Agency)


Wales sevens international Rosser, who is older than the rest of this group at 23, has broken through this season to follow in the footsteps of older brother Jared, who he starts alongside against the Scarlets, while Andrew is a threat on the wing for Newport.

The 20-year-old got a chance in pre-season and will now hope to push for his competitive debut, while the likes of Huw Anderson and Harry Rees-Weldon are also ones to look out for after developing with Pontypool and Ebbw Vale respectively.


Patience is vital when it comes to those at the coalface but Barny Langton-Cryer, who made his debut at lock at Munster, will look to keep developing at Newport when he returns from injury.

Can Luke Yendle or Nathan Evans push themselves forward at tighthead? Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths will aim to become a contender at loosehead after being a tourist for the South African double-header.