DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan has challenged Arwel Robson and Jacob Botica to show their leadership qualities in training as he prepares to rest star playmaker Sam Davies.

Fly-half Davies has started all seven games since heading east from the Ospreys in the summer and has played 548 of 560 minutes.

The 26-year-old is in the mix for Wales' money-spinner against the Barbarians, which clashes with the Dragons' key Guinness PRO14 encounter with Zebre at Rodney Parade on November 30.

That would leave Robson, who missed the second half of last season after suffering a ruptured hamstring, and Botica, who is yet to start a professional game, pulling the strings – and one of the pair is likely to start against Enisei-STM in the European Challenge Cup on Friday.

Free Press Series:

"They've got to work out how to impress me in the week and show that they can lead a team," said director of rugby Ryan.

"There are opportunities that will come but Sam has a strong handle on this side, and opportunities aren't free either.

"Just because you are in the queue doesn't mean you get an opportunity. Players have got to push and show in training that they understand what we are trying to do.

"It's probably right in Enisei to look at changing it up (at fly-half) but I wouldn't see that as detrimental to where the team is going."

Davies has impressed for the Dragons this season and, with Dan Biggar unavailable and Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Patchell injured, could earn an international recall for the Barbarians fixture.

Free Press Series:

"I love working with Sam, there is lots that he can get better at and I think coming here is a really bold statement by him to try and shape a side in the way he sees the game," said Ryan about the eight-times capped fly-half.

"As a team we make some silly mistakes which can expose some of the decisions that he makes and he is learning all the time.

"He gives leadership, that doesn't mean he's always, right but everyone looks at him to know what is happening next.

"Probably our biggest challenge is to get him a rest because we could very quickly find ourselves under a lot of pressure. We need to keep him fresh and in for the right games."

Ryan made eight changes to his XV for last weekend's European opener against Castres and is set to tinker with the line-up again after the 31-17 triumph.

Enisei-STM were hammered 57-14 by Worcester on opening weekend and the management are keen to get the balance right to avoid a banana skin in Krasnodar.

Hooker Elliot Dee and back row forwards Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty haven't been considered since their World Cup exploits while the Dragons are not rushing lock Cory Hill, who was forced home from Japan without playing a game because of a leg fracture.

"They will be back after the Baa-Baas game. It's then just a matter of integrating them in and we will probably get a couple of them off the bench in the first game against Worcester and hopefully get some stars the next weekend," said Ryan.

"We saw the calibre of those guys at the World Cup so I am looking forward to them coming back and pushing for places."