DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan believes ‘massive’ homegrown prospect Joe Westwood showed against the Bulls that he has the physicality to be a big hit at 13.

The 20-year-old is poised to be involved again in the Good Friday fixture with fellow United Rugby Championship strugglers Zebre Park in Newport (kick-off 7.35pm).

Westwood made his professional debut with a late appearance off the bench in the European Challenge Cup game against the Sharks.

He made another cameo at Glasgow before getting his first start against Ulster as a winger, a performance to show his versatility.

Westwood was a fly-half for Coleg Gwent and, like his father Jonathan and grandfather Keith, has slotted in at full-back.

However, the former Wales Under-20s international lined up in his primary position of outside centre against the Bulls last weekend and played the full 80 minutes.

South Wales Argus: Joe Westwood on the charge for the Dragons against UlsterJoe Westwood on the charge for the Dragons against Ulster (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

At 6ft 3ins and nearly 16st, Westwood is similar in build to tough ex-Dragons outside centre Pat Leach and has made an impression on Flanagan.

“His skill set is unbelievable and he put one kick in last week that went from 22 to 22,” said the head coach about the prospect, who has also shown in the Premiership that he can be a real threat with breaks on the outside.

“Time in the saddle will help him, whether here or Newport RFC. He has had two years of injury and we must not forget that.

“His performance plan just needs to be about playing rugby, whatever the level, so that he can see pictures.

“But going forward, I expect him to be a physical player for us in our 13 channel. He is a massive man and we saw elements of that against a very strong Bulls team.”

Westwood and Harri Ackerman, who is recovering from a broken leg suffered with Wales at the Under-20s Six Nations, have pushed into the senior picture this season.

Aneurin Owen, now 23, is ahead of them on the development plan with all three benefiting from the calmness of club captain Steff Hughes with Flanagan citing his influence on a pair of Wales internationals.

“Johnny Williams played some of his best rugby inside Steff and Joe Roberts developed outside him,” said the coach, looking back to his time with the Scarlets.

“Now we are seeing the same with Harri, Aneurin and Joe, and it’s their job to put Steff out of the team.

“He knows that part of his role at the club is to give back and develop some of these youngsters but we also want performances from him with them snapping at his heels.

"They are the future of this region but they are quite close to being the immediate future."

The Dragons name their team to face Zebre at midday with Wales internationals Aaron Wainwright, Elliot Dee and Rio Dyer set to come back into the XV.

Number eight Wainwright and hooker Dee came off the bench against the Bulls after Six Nations duty while wing Dyer was given a breather.