ROSS Moriarty is desperate to return in the Dragons' home derby against the Scarlets on Saturday – with the Wales powerhouse's appetite for collisions giving boss Dean Ryan a back row selection headache.

The 25-year-old has not featured for the region this season after coming back from the World Cup with a virus that led to dramatic weight loss.

Moriarty is now fit to feature in the festive derbies and will be yet another back row option for director of rugby Ryan for the Guinness PRO14 encounter with the Scarlets (kick-off 5.15pm).

An all-Wales trio of Cory Hill, primarily a lock played at blindside, Ollie Griffiths and Aaron Wainwright started in the win against Worcester last Friday.

In-form Taine Basham is back from a one-week suspension and other leading options are Harrison Keddie and Huw Taylor.

Western Telegraph:

"Ross is desperate to play," said Ryan. "I don't think that he has been as light as he was since he was 15 years old!

"He clearly had a virus post-World Cup that was difficult to shake off and he had weight loss during that period, so we didn't make it about 'when are you back, Ross?', we made it about when he is right.

"Ross is jumping around wanting to play and that gives us a couple of options to how we load the team.

"There has been some real progression (in the back row), Ben Fry went to Enisei-STM and jumped up the rankings, while Huw Taylor has been great. Our back row has been a real area of strength and we have depth.

"Ross has got real clarity around collisions, whether with the ball or without the ball. Every player who plays internationals will want a point of their game that is different to everybody else's and with Ross he definitely sees that coming together as a point of difference."

Basham missed the win against the Warriors in Newport after being sent off in the 20th minute of the defeat to the English side at Sixways.

The dynamic 20-year-old from Talywain has enjoyed a superb start to the season with his try record of seven tries in 10 games earning a call-up to Wales' squad for the fixture against the Barbarians.

Western Telegraph:

"Taine has been one of our key player at producing moments in the first half of the season," said Ryan.

"He is a real part of what we are doing moving forward and if he keeps having those moments then he keeps pushing himself into some pretty big company in terms of playing in that back row."

"We are getting some competition in some key areas," continued Ryan. "We've talked about the back row while in the front row last weekend Aaron Jarvis and Richard Hibbard came on and won two penalties in the last 20 minutes that swung the game.

"Centre is another area where we aren't fixed and might be able to look at things tactically.".

Samoa lock Brandon Nansen (forearm) and wing Jared Rosser (leg) are close to a return after not yet featuring this season.

The pair are likely to feature in the festive schedule, which also sees the Dragons head to Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day and host the Ospreys on the first weekend of January.

l The Dragons key European Challenge Cup clash with Castres in France has been confirmed as Saturday, January 11 (kick-off 2pm).

The region, who won the Rodney Parade meeting 31-17, currently top Pool One.