AFTER being convinced as an academy prospect to sign up to the Front Row Union, Gerard Ellis is happy to make another career move at the Dragons in a bid to find his true calling.

The strong-running forward started life in the back row with Llandovery College before being converted to hooker by London Irish.

The Welsh-qualified front rower from Southampton was signed by the Dragons last summer and made 10 appearances with either 2 or 16 on his back.

But towards the end of last year the 25-year-old was approached by head coach Bernard Jackman and asked to shift a place to the left and become a loosehead prop.

Next season he will attempt to put the heat on Brok Harris rather than being a rival for Elliot Dee and Richard Hibbard.

"It was an interesting conversation to have! I got asked if I fancied giving it a go, I have and I am enjoying it," said Ellis.

"It was put forward a couple of times throughout the year and then Bernard called me in and said that he seriously wanted to do it.

"I just thought it was a good option to go with for my career, stop trying to be a square peg in a triangle hole, maybe admit defeat and go for it!

"I am still throwing every day and keeping that alive so that if there are a few injuries at hooker then I will go back in because it's good to have flexibility and versatility in a squad.

"I've gone from back row to hooker and now to prop… I am slowly moving to where I rightfully belong!"

Ellis first tasted competitive action as a prop with Ebbw Vale and then got a chance in professional rugby in the Dragons' Anglo-Welsh Cup encounters with Saracens and Worcester.

Those experiences are giving the front rower an indication of the fruits of his labour in Ystrad Mynach under the watchful eye of forwards coach and former Wales loosehead Ceri Jones.

"I've just got to get my head down and work on the scrummaging side of things," he said. "I've always liked the physicality of rugby and this is an opportunity to have a one on one battle.

"It's a bit more technical than just brutal strength but I am working hard with Ceri Jones behind the scenes and (tighthead) Nicky Thomas has been really good.

"It's interesting to get their points of view on different techniques and things to do.

"It's a work in progress and is not going to happen overnight but I am in it for the long haul and hopefully in six or seven months, if not sooner, I will be flying in the scrum.

"It's just getting the reps in and working hard in training to fast-track it and get to where I need to be quicker.

"It's a learning curve and I will have some good scrums and some bad, I just have to make sure I go away and make sure there are more good ones next time.

"I am going to throw myself into it and give it a really good crack, then hopefully in six months I will be thinking that it's the best thing that I've done in my career.

"I am a positive guy about most things and I know that if I get my head down then it is a move that could work out really well for me."

And Ellis is fuelled by a desire to be a part of things in the new Jackman era.

"I've settled in now and like it down here, it's a good place to be with the young boys coming through and the vision that Bernard has," he said. "It's a club that is really going somewhere and I want to be a part of it."

The Dragons have a chance to give reason for optimism in February with a trio of home games against Glasgow, Benetton Treviso and Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14.

Rodney Parade wins against Bordeaux-Begles and Worcester have restored some faith after disappointing losses on Newport soil to Newcastle, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys.

"We pride ourselves on our home performances," said Ellis. "We want to kick on now and we spoke after Worcester about not getting ahead of ourselves and knuckling down for some tough games.

"We've got a chance to right some wrongs and get the fans off their seats, cheering us on because when Rodney Parade is booming it's an unbelievable place to play.

"We want to give the supporters something back and show them that we are a team worth supporting and that we work our backsides off to make them proud."