DRAGONS centre Harri Ackerman will target a return in late pre-season after having surgery on a broken leg.

The 19-year-old will miss this summer’s World Rugby U20 Championship after being injured when captaining the Welsh youngsters against France in the Six Nations.

Ackerman got his left leg trapped underneath the French loosehead after an outside break and broke both his fibula and tibia.

The centre was stretchered off and taken to hospital where he has since gone under the knife.

An estimated recovery time has not been given but it is likely that Ackerman will target a return to training at the end of pre-season, which would mean spending the start of the new campaign getting up to speed.

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan said: “Harri has been playing exceptionally well, for Dragons and Wales this season, so it’s a blow to lose him in this manner.

“Harri has led Wales Under-20s superbly during this Six Nations so it’s disappointing that he’s been deprived of finishing the international season and the rest of our domestic campaign.

“We’re pleased to report that surgery has been successful, and he has our full support as he commences his return to fitness.

“I know our fans, and supporters right across Welsh rugby as a whole, will join us in sending him our very best wishes.”

It is a blow for a talented player who has made an impact at pro level since making his Dragons debut against Oyonnax in December.

Ackerman, who impressed with Newport RFC in the Premiership, made his fifth appearance in the United Rugby Championship clash at Ulster during the Six Nations.

The Dragons had earmarked the promising prospect for a conditioning block on his return from international duty but now he will target a late summer comeback.

Ackerman was captaining the Welsh youngsters because Rodney Parade teammate Ryan Woodman is sidelined after a thumb injury suffered against the Sharks in January that required surgery.

The blindside/lock, who is on the radar of senior Wales boss Warren Gatland, is hoping to be back for the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa from June 29 to July 19.