WALES speedster Jonah Holmes is unlikely make his Dragons debut on Saturday as boss Dean Ryan continues to try and stretch his squad.

The Rodney Parade region bring the curtain down on their 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 campaign with a clash against the Scarlets in Newport (kick-off 5.15pm).

The Dragons returned to action on Sunday against the Ospreys when Ashton Hewitt's late try earned a share of the spoils.

Director of rugby Ryan didn't go to the Liberty Stadium with a fully-loaded side with Elliot Dee, Rhodri Williams, Jared Rosser and new boy Holmes among those that didn't travel, while Aaron Wainwright and Adam Warren were replacements.

The management will tinker with their team for the meeting with the Scarlets, who travel to Newport needing a bonus-point win to keep alive their semi-final hopes, but they are playing the long game ahead of a hectic schedule in 2020/21.


Full-back/wing Holmes was one of the Dragons' high-profile summer recruits but when asked about the 28-year-old presumably making his debut after sitting out last week, Ryan alluded to the ex-Leicester man sitting out a second derby.

"I wouldn't presume! Jonah has settled in great but not everything is about this weekend," he said. "We've got lots of things to think about with how we get through in the right way."

The Dragons are building towards the European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bristol on Friday, September 18.

The knockout stages are swiftly followed by the start of the new PRO14 – or perhaps PRO12 due to the absence of South African sides – on the first weekend of October.

Ryan and his staff are mindful of that when choosing when to bring back the likes of full-back Jordan Williams and fly-half Josh Lewis, who have returned to training after serious knee injuries.

Building depth and creating more selection headaches is vital for the former Gloucester, Bristol and Worcester boss.

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"We are getting more confident in derbies and we are putting expectation on ourselves to perform," said Ryan, whose side beat the Scarlets and Ospreys over the festive period, left Cardiff Blues with a losing bonus and drew in Swansea.

"My role is to expand that group that feels confident by giving opportunities. There is some risk attached to that but I don't want to be naming a XV and then hanging onto them until Christmas.

"I've got to keep getting people better and the only way to do that sometimes is by putting them against the best opposition.

"We have got some challenges in Europe this year when we will play some big sides (in the Champions Cup).

"We can't just rely on a small group of people, we've got to keep getting our youngsters better. I very much see these games as a chance to do that. It's a real opportunity to get better as a whole.

"Managing players across a year fits nicely into us having more players competitive for each position, otherwise the drop off becomes too severe.

"This year more than any will be a challenge in terms of expanded Test windows and lots of things that we haven't had to face before."

The Dragons name their team at midday on Friday.