BERNARD Jackman hopes that extra international experience can help the Dragons pack a punch up front next season, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade region have signed 14 players for 2018/19 with seven of them forwards, all but Worcester lock/blindside Huw Taylor and Ealing hooker Rhys Lawrence boasting caps.

Props Ryan Bevington (Bristol) and Aaron Jarvis (Clermont Auvergne), hooker Richard Hibbard and back row forward Ross Moriarty (both Gloucester) have played for Wales while lock Brandon Nansen made his Test bow for Samoa last autumn and will help the Islanders attempt to secure a World Cup spot this summer.

The Dragons forwards possessed an impressive driving lineout last season and were largely solid at the scrum but the pack, partly through injury, lacked depth.

Head coach Jackman, who also has experienced uncapped South Africans Brok Harris and Rynard Landman in his squad, believes he has started to address that in his first recruitment drive.

"I was speaking to (forwards coach) Ceri Jones and we reflected that this season we started the season with just two international players up front (Cory Hill and Ollie Griffiths)," said the former Ireland hooker.

"If Aaron Wainwright gets capped in June then we will go into next year with 10 (Hill, Griffiths, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Wainwright and new recruits Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Ryan Bevington, Ross Moriarty and Brandon Nansen).

"That's where we want to go as a region and it's pleasing that four of them have come through our academy."

The tally of caps among the forwards at the start of 2017/18 was just seven (Hill's six and Griffiths a solitary international against Tonga).

Ahead of this summer's Tests it is 116: Hill 15, Griffiths 1, Dee 7, Brown 3, Hibbard 38, Jarvis 18, Bevington 13, Moriarty 20, Nansen 1.

There are eight international backs on the books for next season boasting 100 Test appearances – full-back/wing Amos (15), South African utility back Zane Kirchner (31), wing Dafydd Howells (2) centres Adam Warren (1) and Tyler Morgan (4), fly-half Gavin Henson (33), scrum-halves Rhodri Williams (3) and Tavis Knoyle (11).

"I felt that we were lacking that experience that you get from training and playing with better quality players and being in pressurised environments," said Jackman.

"Certainly my objective this year was to try and readjust that balance without having a big cheque book, so the way to do that was to get players from within our squad to feature in international camps."

Hill, Dee, Moriarty, Amos and Wainwright will find out on Wednesday if they have made the 23-man squad for Saturday's clash with the Springboks in Washington.

The Dragons also have a seven-strong contingent at the World Rugby U20 Championship, which starts on Wednesday with the Welsh youngsters taking on Australia in Beziers.