BACK rower Ollie Griffiths is eyeing a March return from injury after signing a new Dragons contract.

The 25-year-old from Newbridge was looking likely to be in the mix for the Six Nations until he suffered an ankle injury when carrying hard in December’s Champions Cup loss to Wasps.

Griffiths underwent surgery but is back running at the region’s Ystrad Mynach training base and starting to set targets.

The Dragons return to Guinness PRO14 action against Connacht in Newport on Friday before further February encounters with Edinburgh, Leinster and Zebre.

The derby clash with the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium at the start of next month is the target for their explosive back row forward.

“In terms of the recovery, everything is going well and I’m ahead of schedule,” said Griffiths.

“I’m probably about three or four weeks off so hopefully I’ll be back the beginning of March, fingers crossed.”

Griffiths has agreed fresh terms to stay at Rodney Parade until 2023.

The forward, who was made the youngest club captain of Newport RFC’s rich history as a teenager, has made 78 appearances for the Dragons since his 2014 debut.

LEADER: Ollie Griffiths

LEADER: Ollie Griffiths

Griffiths was capped by Wales against Tonga after a superb 2016/17 and featured in the uncapped match against the Barbarians in 2019.

He believes the Dragons can help him break into the fiercely competitive Test back row.

“I feel we have kicked on a lot over the last year or so, my friends are here, the coaching set-up is good and the training facilities are good,” he said.

“It really was a no-brainer for me really to stay at the Dragons for another couple of years and hopefully further after that.

“Dean [Ryan director of rugby] came in and said it as it was, he didn’t sell any false fantasies, he was realistic, which I liked.

“Since he’s been here we have kicked on a lot, we played Champions Cup rugby this year and hopefully we can qualify for that again next year.

"That is where I want to be and where the region wants to be really.

“I’m still only 25 so I’m ambitious and I’ve got international ambitions. At regional level I want to play Champions Cup rugby and I believe this is a place that I can do that.”

Griffiths was in stunning form before injury and boss Ryan is confident a run of games will see the back rower add to his cap.

“I didn't realise how good he was until we saw the impact he was capable of having on recent games,” said the director of rugby.

“You can't hide from a stop-start injury record, you've got to come back and get games under your belt before you can start talking about international honours again.

“But, without a doubt, everyone will be watching the next time he is back playing, hoping that this is the time he strings some games together.

“You are never going to be injury-free, especially an athlete like Ollie. We'd hope for some of those injuries to be less dramatic, because you can't play the way he does without worrying about injury.

“Everyone will be excited as he gets more games together what he is capable of doing.”