I AM still on the comeback trail but hopefully I will soon be back to full fitness to help out our depleted back row.

It shouldn’t be long before I am back out on the field after my pre-season Achilles injury but it’s vital that I don’t rush back – those of us sidelined at the moment have to come back for the long-term.

I know that’s particularly important in my position after Harri Keddie suffered a shoulder blow and has joined me and Nic Cudd on the injured list.

It means that Bernard Jackman and his coaches are having to look to the academy and it was really good to see Lennon Greggains make his Dragons debut at Ulster last week, one of the players to come through the successful youth team at Newport High School Old Boys that was coached by Rhys ‘Stinky’ Thomas.

With Josh Reynolds and Corey Howells from the same NHSOB and Wales Under-18s side, it’s good to see that the production line is working at my old club.

The Dragons academy is doing a great job and it’s just as well, because we’ve been decimated by injuries at the moment.

The positive to that is that it does give a chance for youngsters to experience professional rugby, even if there is an element of it being a baptism of fire.

Lennon, Max Williams, George Gasson Owain Leonard, Will Talbot-Davies and Dane Blacker would have gained so much from a tough night in Belfast.

But it’s not just on the pitch where they are learning and synergy between seniors and young prospects in training is key.

I’ve always believed in young players working alongside more experienced ones as soon as possible and I was lucky enough to train with the likes of Jamie Ringer, Colin Charvis and Michael Owen when I was starting out.

That helped me realise what I needed to do and what life is like as a pro.

I was 19 when I made my debut against the Scarlets and that was through necessity because of injuries as well.

At the time I was at university so was living in Cyncoed, commuting to Ebbw Vale to play for them, playing age-grade rugby with the Dragons and Wales.

It’s an eye-opener for young players and it’s not only you who is making sacrifices – parents have a massive role to play here too.

Nowadays young players are physical specimens but it’s also a key period in their mental development, something that is quite often overlooked as they are moulded into becoming professionals.

We’ve got a good crop of youngsters coming through and the future is bright, we just have to marry that up with some good results in the short term.

I am sure the boys will be keen to back up their last Rodney Parade performance, a really good win against Connacht a fortnight ago, when they take on the Southern Kings tomorrow.

It’s exciting to have a challenge of brand new opposition and the chance to test ourselves against a southern hemisphere side.

The Kings have had a tough start to life in the Guinness PRO14 with four defeats from four but analysis of them shows they have some really dangerous individuals and they have started well in games.

We can’t give them any early momentum and need to repeat what we did against Connacht, when we started sharply to earn what turned out to be a match-winning lead.