DRAGONS tighthead Leon Brown knows he cannot waste any chances that come his way with Wales after forcing his way back into the fold in World Cup year.

The 22-year-old prop from Newport won his fourth cap against Scotland at Principality Stadium last Saturday, albeit with the briefest of cameos as a 79th-minute replacement for on-song Dillon Lewis.

The duo are joined in the squad for the autumn Tests by the Scarlets' Samson Lee, who missed the opener with a hamstring injury, and Exeter's Tomas Francis, who could not play because the game was outside World Rugby's window.

Competition is fierce and Brown knows that he must shine whether it is against Australia, Tonga or South Africa as the countdown continues to Japan 2019.

"I was privileged to be out there against Scotland, it would have nice to get more minutes but Dillon was having a cracking game and I couldn't fault the coaches' decision to leave him on there," said Brown, who tussled with the Cardiff Blues tighthead when they were with Wales Under-20s.

"Everyone needs competition, that brings out the best in all of us. We are good friends and there is a healthy competition – when you get a chance you have to take it.

"All I can do is work hard, get my head down in training and then when that opportunity comes along it's up to me.

"Fingers crossed I will be in the team to face Australia but if I am not then I'll do my best to help the boys prepare.

"Every game leading up to the World Cup is a warm-up and a chance to raise your hand and show that you are good enough to go to the tournament.

"There are four of us in working hard to try and get the jersey but you can't look further than the next game really, I've seen that with my knocks and injuries."

Brown experienced incredible highs and frustrating lows last season, earning a shock call-up in the autumn and caps against Australia, Georgia and New Zealand only to then be sidelined by injury.

A concussion against the All Blacks, his second in a month, put him out until February and then he ruptured big toe ligaments on his fourth game back.

"I had a nightmare with injuries and didn't get a run of games going. That's part and parcel of the game but it was still tough," he admitted.

"You have a bit of a mourning period for a couple of months when you are down but you have to forget about it, get into shape and get back out there as soon as possible. You can't afford to dwell on it.

"It was a pretty dark place to be in at the time but hopefully that season is out of the system and my body stays right."

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After missing the summer tour, Brown returned with a bang in his six Dragons appearances to earn a recall to the Test squad.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” he admitted. “After a slow start with the Dragons, with results not going our way, it was a nice surprise.”

“I just tried to start the season as well as I could and enjoy my rugby again.”

Brown makes an impact on the field and is also trying to leave an impression off it through his work with Positive Futures, a sports-based social inclusion programme.

“It’s a couple of hours at Newport Leisure Centre on a Thursday,” said the prop. “I enjoy it, it takes your mind off the game and it’s nice to do a bit with kids who might be struggling in school.

“I’ve always been interested in social work and social care. The kids are 11 and 12, fun but cheeky! They are great and hopefully they can turn their bad start to school years into good.”

Those good deeds have had to be put on the back burner because of Wales commitments at the Vale Resort.

He is rooming with Dragons teammate Elliot Dee, putting up with the hooker’s penchant for FaceTiming his dog Wes and not tempted to copy with his own old English bulldog Lola.

The front rowers are grafting hard with Brown fuelled by the desire to bring joy to his Maesglas fan club of mum Sally and grandmother Sandra.

“You do it for yourself but you do it for your family as well,” said the tighthead. “It’s great to see them when they come to watch the games and have a nice day out.”