DRAGONS prospect Aneurin Owen intends to use the Celtic Cup to push his case for a regional debut this season.

The development competition gets under way this weekend with the Rodney Parade region heading to Galway to take on Connacht on Friday (kick-off 2pm).

Owen, who has been used primarily as a centre of late but who could be an option at fly-half, is one of the Dragons' prospects aiming to catch the eye for Luke Narraway's team.

The 18-year-old from Newport is further up the pecking order for the seniors courtesy of a year of rugby with Wales Under-20s and Ebbw Vale plus the departures of Jarryd Sage and Tiaan Loots.

Owen is learning from the seasoned campaigners but also wants to put them under pressure.

"It's been a tough pre-season with the new management at Dragons under Dean Ryan, but at the same time it's been refreshing," said the former Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw pupil.

"Everyone's excited about making the region better and Dean's been really good with the younger guys.

"He'll always come up and talk to us, give us stuff to improve on and he's explained where he sees all of us in the set-up.

"I like what he's doing and the way he wants to play so with this being my first year with the senior side, I'm enjoying pushing myself hard.

Free Press Series:

"We've got some very experienced centres in guys like Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon and Adam Warren (pictured above), but to learn off them is brilliant and they're giving me little pointers.

"There's a good group of young centres as well and we're all pushing each other hard, so my aim at the moment is to play in the Celtic Cup and push for a starting spot.

"I'm involved with Ebbw Vale and might get more games there as well, so I'll just keep my head down, take any opportunities to play and try and keep the shirt."

Owen started all five games of the Six Nations but suffered injury disappointment in Wales' opening game of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

A concussion in his first carry of the opening game against hosts Argentina meant that the centre missed out on the four remaining fixtures.

"What happened in Argentina was disappointing but you soon put it behind you and I'm ready to go now again," he said.

"My Junior World Cup lasted one minute, 20 seconds to be exact. Coming from the Under-18s, the Under-20s was always a target and I was so pleased to be involved in the Six Nations and then get a Junior World Cup shot, but my tournament was over before it began.

"Just over a minute into our first match with Argentina, I ran a short line and got the ball but a defender tackled me with his wrong shoulder.

"We clashed heads, he caught me on the chin and I was out cold. That was me done, so off I went back home.

"I'll certainly have a bit of unfinished business at next year's Junior World Cup in Italy – if selected, of course."

The Dragons XV host Munster A in Newport on Friday, August 30 after their Celtic Cup opener in Galway.

The region will also unveil their kits for the coming season at a special open training session and fan event at Rodney Parade before the clash with the Irish province.

Dean Ryan's seniors will be put through their paces on the stadium pitch at 3pm and there will be signing sessions and Q&As before the Celtic Cup fixture kicks off at 7pm.

Only the Bisley Stand will be open for the game with unreserved seating.