DRAGONS stalwart Phil Price has moved to the Scarlets on a short-term loan in a bid to earn a contract with the Guinness PRO14 champions.

The 29-year-old loosehead has been a prominent figure since making his Rodney Parade debut in 2009 after coming through the Ospreys academy.

Price is sixth on the Dragons’ list of appearance makers with 159 outings and only one prop, Adam Black on 163, has played more times.

However, the front rower from Bridgend has been out in the cold this season with just two substitute appearances, at Edinburgh and Ulster in September.

The Dragons switched influential South African Brok Harris from tighthead to loosehead at the start of the season to accommodate Wales prospect Leon Brown.

Head coach Bernard Jackman has given Thomas Davies 15 outings, Sam Hobbs nine since he returned from a summer knee operation, Luke Garrett nine and handed a regional debut to Wales Under-20s prospect Josh Reynolds in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The Dragons are also looking to turn Gerard Ellis, who joined from London Irish last season, into a hooker/prop.

Price, whose contract expires at the end of the campaign, will now head to Llanelli on an initial two-week loan to cover for the absence of Wales props Rob Evans and Wyn Jones.

The Scarlets head to the Twickenham Stoop to face Harlequins this weekend before entertaining Sale Sharks.

The Dragons currently have Scarlets tighthead Nicky Thomas on loan, also with a view to signing the 23-year-old on a permanent deal.

The Rodney Parade region are on the road this weekend when they take on Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and will be boosted by the return of Zane Kirchner and Harrison Keddie from shoulder injuries.

Former Springboks full-back Kirchner, 33, has been out of action since suffering a dislocation in the Guinness PRO14 win against Connacht in September.

Back row forward Keddie, 21, has also been out of action since that victory against the Irish province with shoulder surgery denying him the chance to press for inclusion in the Wales squad.

The duo will return against the Champions Cup quarter-finalists at Allianz Park (kick-off 3pm) along with promising flanker Max Williams, who is also back from a shoulder injury in time to prove his fitness for the Under-20s Six Nations.

The Dragons are set to hand a debut to outside back Calvin Wellington, who signed from Super League giants St Helens in November and has overcome a hamstring niggle.

“They will all add enthusiasm and are busting to play and prove that they are worthy of their place in the squad having been out for so long,” said academy coach James Chapron, who is a member of Bernard Jackman’s management team for the development competition.

Wales Under-20s speedster Rio Dyer, 18, is also poised for his regional bow as part of the matchday squad at Sarries.

The Dragons lost to Northampton and beat the Scarlets to stand a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of the tournament, which pits teams from Pool Two against those from Pool Three.

The Rodney Parade region currently have four points to prop up their group behind Sale (8), Harlequins (10) and Exeter (10).