LIAM Belcher aims to impress against the champions this evening to show that he deserves to stay at the Dragons to battle Wales hookers Elliot Dee and Richard Hibbard for the 2 jersey.

The 21-year-old will make his fifth start of the season against the Scarlets in the Guinness PRO14 in Llanelli tonight (kick-off 7.35pm).

Belcher arrived at Rodney Parade from Cardiff Blues on a one-year contract last summer and was signed by former head coach Kingsley Jones.

New boss Bernard Jackman has already moved to strengthen for next season by recruiting Lions hooker Hibbard from Gloucester to provide stiff competition for Dee, who won caps against Georgia and South Africa in the autumn.

The Dragons also have Rhys Buckley, Gerard Ellis and prospects Ellis Shipp and Will Griffiths on the books, so Belcher knows he has to grasp his chances if he is to earn a contract extension.

"The opportunities that I get I have to take. I have to show what I am about," said the former Wales Under-20s international.

"I want to stay here because it's a growing environment and one of the best that I've been in, I really enjoy it here.

"I looked up to Hibbard, especially when he was playing for the Lions, so it would be great to learn off him. Anything you can pick up from someone like him, with the experience he has got, would be phenomenal for anyone coming through."

The Dragons are in a transitional campaign under Jackman and are recruiting heavily for 2018/19 but Belcher says there is no chance of their season drifting.

"You have to focus on the here and now because if you focus on a year's time then you might not be here. That's just professional sport," he said.

"The boys want to focus on the now and with players coming in [over the summer], those in that position have to step up and show what they are about."

Belcher will have his hands full against a formidable Scarlets pack that is spearheaded by his opposite number, Wales and Lions ace Ken Owens. The Dragons man is eager rather than daunted by the task.

"It's a big opportunity for me and my first Welsh derby as a starter, so I am excited," he said.

"When you are younger you watch these games, see the regions going at it and just want to be a part of it. Luckily for me I will be and I am looking forward to the occasion.

"The Scarlets is one of the hardest games away, especially because they are playing so well and some really nice, attractive rugby.

"It will be a tough challenge but we just have to take it in our stride. We've been told to just enjoy it, because we do have a young team going down there.

"There's no point playing rugby if you are not going to enjoy it."