THE Dragons are hopeful of a new deal with Leon Brown with the aim of nursing the injury-hit Wales tighthead back to full fitness for pre-season.

The prop is out of contract this summer but has not been listed among the Rodney Parade leavers and talks are continuing.

The 27-year-old from Newport has endured a torrid time with injury and that will be reflected in any agreement.

Brown has played just four times for the Dragons this season but his solitary start showed why there is a reluctance to let him move on.

The tighthead locked horns with South African World Cup winner Ox Nche – the loosehead with the mantra of 'salads don't win scrums' – and performed admirably.

Brown then went into the Six Nations but suffered an injury in the opener against Scotland when winning his 24th cap.

The prop hasn’t been in a matchday squad since and has been listed as ‘knock’ by the Dragons after previously having a nerve issue that needed neck surgery.

South Wales Argus: TALKS: Dragons prop Leon Brown is out of contract this summerTALKS: Dragons prop Leon Brown is out of contract this summer (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Head coach Dai Flanagan is confident that the tighthead, who has played just 71 times for the club since his 2016 debut, will return this summer to work towards the next United Rugby Championship campaign.

“We see his long-term future with us. We have taken a long road to make sure we do things right,” said Flanagan at his pre-Scarlets press conference on Thursday.

“I am relatively new to dealing with Leon but he has had a bitty last couple of years so we just need to make sure that when he does return to playing rugby, hopefully in Gwent, that he is fully ready to go.

“There’s nothing major, it’s just making sure that he is strong and that’s been why we have deloaded him since the Six Nations.”

Asked if the plan was to get him to pre-season and then start again, Flanagan replied: “That would be the ideal plan and what we are all trying to pursue.”

The Dragons have Chris Coleman, Lloyd Fairbrother and Luke Yendle on the books at tighthead with former Cardiff and Ospreys prop Dmitri Arhip likely to remain after joining on a short-term deal for the end of the current season.