WHEN Dean Ryan named his squad to face the Ospreys, the name of the prop providing cover for Brok Harris came as something of a surprise.

Irish loosehead Conor Maguire was given the chance for a second Dragons appearance during an extremely long of short-term trial.

The 23-year-old was brought in by the Rodney Parade region when they had a prop crisis in March and he came straight into the squad for the Guinness PRO14 fixture against Benetton.

The loosehead came on for the last 13 minutes of the loss to the Italians in Newport but his chances of impressing were then struck by the coronavirus crisis.

Games were postponed, training was cancelled and Maguire, who had played for Leinster and Connacht in the Celtic Cup, returned to Ireland.

Six months later, the prop showed why he is nicknamed 'The Bull' with one particularly strong carry during a lively cameo at the Liberty Stadium.

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"Conor came shortly before lockdown, so that was a bit unlucky," explained director of rugby Ryan. "He stayed engaged with us all the way through and we don't have a huge amount of props.

"We really liked what we saw and didn't want to just end it there, and he said that he could come back over and be on that trial.

"We've continued it and I was really pleased that we could get him back out there – we saw some really good glimpses at the Ospreys."

Whether Maguire has a Dragons future beyond the next few weeks is yet to be decided. It seems a long shot but the management have been struck by his eagerness and application.

Brok Harris is the region's first-choice loosehead but is 35 years old and he is backed up by fellow veteran Aaron Jarvis and up-and-coming Josh Reynolds.

Greg Bateman is set to arrive for next season after leaving Leicester because of a pay dispute while former Wales prop Ryan Bevington, who is still on the comeback trail from a serious knee injury suffered at Munster on the opening weekend of the 2019/20 campaign, has been in negotiations about extending his Rodney Parade stay.

Intriguingly, Maguire did previously play hooker for Leinster at age-grade level and the region have just three senior players in that position.

With Elliot Dee likely to be away on Wales duty for large spells in 2020/21, perhaps he should throw a ball at the posts in front of forwards coach Mefin Davies.

At the very worst, the prop is putting himself in the shop window at a higher level than the All-Ireland League with Old Wesley.

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"A lad that put his hand up like Conor, we almost had a duty to give him another chance," said Ryan.

"Lockdown meant that he spent two days here, he went to Cheltenham races with us, played against Benetton and we never saw him again other than on Zoom!

"I was pleased that he could come back and get another chance, and he has impressed. There is always potential (for staying on next season)."

Maguire will hope to get more minutes against the Scarlets on Saturday with Ryan naming his team at midday tomorrow.