DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan hasn't given up hope of in-demand Wales star Ross Moriarty staying at Rodney Parade.

The powerhouse back row forward headed to Rodney Parade from Gloucester in 2018 on a two-year contract that expires in the summer.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move to the Ospreys while it is also believed that he is on the radar of English clubs, although that would mean his Test career being put on hold as he has won 41 caps and needs 60 to be available to Wayne Pivac.

A new funding model between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions will see the governing body footing the bill for 38 international players.

The Dragons, who pushed the boat out to bring Moriarty to Wales from the west country, are blessed with a wealth of back row options but a can of worms would be opened if they saw the 2017 Lions tourist head to the Liberty Stadium with the governing body picking up the tab.

Moriarty made a big impact in his first regional appearance of the season in Saturday night's stunning 22-20 derby win against the Scarlets and Ryan, who was an abrasive back rower in his playing days, is keen to keep working with him.

Western Telegraph:

"I think there's a number of things we've got to sort out," said the director of rugby. "He's on the Welsh 38 list, which means it's the WRU that are engaging with him.

"I'll tell you that in the two weeks I've had with him, I've had nothing but great engagement. That looks like a lad who is really engaged with this place.

"At the moment, I don't control many of the things that go on other than my relationship with Ross and it's pretty good.

"I think I can help him and I like the way he plays the game. When you turn up like that, what's not to like?"

Moriarty, who returned from the World Cup with a virus that led to dramatic weight loss, is likely to come into the XV at Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day.

He made an impression on his return to regional rugby, embracing the physical confrontations in grim weather, and could slot in at number eight at the Arms Park.

Western Telegraph:

"Ross was outstanding," said Ryan. "In a game that's played with a bloke in front of you that's either stood in your way or coming your way, that's what Ross does well.

"He was the pick of anybody against the Scarlets when it came to the collisions. There was one tackle when he came off a scrum and lost his feet in the wet but still whacked the 9.

"I thought that was a great player's decision, because most people when they lose their feet, lose their impetus and miss the tackle. It was moments like that when Ross really helped us in the last half hour."

While Moriarty is back in the mix, fellow Six Nations hopeful Ollie Griffiths is unlikely to feature in the festive derbies.

The back row forward, who earned a Wales recall for the fixture against the Barbarians, suffered a leg injury in training and won't be ready for the capital and probably won't be risked against the Ospreys on January 4.

"He is a bit frustrated because he had put a decent shift in for us. It was important to get him in a Welsh shirt and back up some European games," said Ryan.

"We are okay for back rowers so now is a good time to back him off so that he is ready to go again in the New Year. Now is a time we are asking him to have a bit of a rest, because it's a long season."