DRAGONS new boy Tom Griffiths will miss the start of the season after having surgery on an ankle injury.

The centre, who qualifies for Wales through his father, signed from European and English champions Saracens last month.

However, the 23-year-old from Gloucester has gone under the knife to resolve a longstanding problem with his left foot.

The Dragons knew about the issue when they signed the centre and have opted to get it sorted with the aim of an autumn return to action.

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Director of rugby Dean Ryan said: "It's an injury we were aware of when we signed Tom and, following an assessment, the decision was made to have the operation so he can get back fully fit.

"Tom is a long-term signing for us and somebody who we are excited to see develop in our environment over the coming years.

"I know he will now work diligently with our medical and strength and conditioning teams to get back to full fitness and we look forward to his return."

With the Guinness PRO14 only starting on the last weekend of September, when the Dragons take on Munster in Limerick, it is hoped that Griffiths won't miss many rounds.

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Nonetheless, the blow has denied the new recruit, who can slot in at 12 or 13, the chance to hit the ground running in his battle for midfield starts with Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Tyler Morgan, Connor Edwards, Tiaan Loots and Wales Under-20s prospect Aneurin Owen.

Wales international Morgan is relishing the fierce battle for starts with Griffiths in the mix.

"He has a good size on him and I am excited to see how he plays, he looks a decent player," said the 23-year-old outside centre.

"We have some good competition at centre this season - Dixon is due a good season, Adam Warren has been playing very well and Connor Edwards is a strong 12."

Last season Warren made 21 appearances, Dixon played 15 times and a shoulder injury limited Morgan to 14 outings to go along with his cap against Tonga in November.

Loots looked promising in pre-season after his arrival from RGC but did not feature for the seniors after suffering a ruptured pectoral muscle while Edwards, who impressed with 10 appearances in 2017/18, was also hindered by injuries and got game time thanks to a loan spell at Hartpury in the English Championship.

Wales Under-20s international Owen, 18, is yet to make his professional debut and Jarryd Sage, who made 17 appearances, was not offered a fresh contract.