DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan says ultimate pro Dmitri Arhip has the chance to earn a deal for next season after arriving on a short-term contract.

The 35-year-old Moldovan tighthead has been training with the Rodney Parade club for several weeks to complete his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury.

Arhip hasn’t played since suffering that blow in February of last year while with Cardiff but he could come into the mix for Friday’s crucial United Rugby Championship game against Zebre in Newport as the Dragons attempt to avoid finishing bottom.

The strong-scrummaging prop has signed until the end of the season because of injuries to Lloyd Fairbrother, Leon Brown and Nathan Evans.

That has led to Chris Coleman and Luke Yendle sharing the action but now south Wales-based Arhip has got his foot in the door.

“Dmitri has an opportunity here, for sure,” said head coach Flanagan. “We need five tightheads in the senior squad and if he goes well then it’s over to us.

“I am sure he will because he has been with us for a little while and he is a superb man who has been around professional rugby for a long time and is a winner. We need more winners in that changing room.”

South Wales Argus: Dmitri on the charge for the Ospreys against the DragonsDmitri on the charge for the Ospreys against the Dragons (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

It looks likely that Evans, who made his debut at Munster in November, will head for the exit this summer while there is uncertainty over the future of Wales tighthead Brown, who is out of contract at the end of the campaign.

The 27-year-old from Newport is currently sidelined after going off in the Six Nations opener against Scotland, with the Dragons not disclosing his latest injury.

Regardless of Brown's future, there is likely to be a vacancy at tighthead and if Arhip impresses then Flanagan has no concerns about the prop’s age.

“He looks after himself, I have been around some of the best professionals in the game and he is in that category with the likes of Leigh Halfpenny,” said the head coach.

“He is first in and last out, he does all his preparation and doesn’t leave anything to chance.

“That’s why when he does come into the matchday squad you will see the same old Dmitri Arhip who is a superb rugby player.

“We have already seem that in training – he lives for the game and he lives for scrums.”

Arhip became a cult hero over five seasons with the Ospreys where he made 91 appearances before signing a bumper deal with Montpellier in 2018.

When that move collapsed, he headed for Cardiff and he made 70 outings for the Blue and Blacks.