DRAGONS director of rugby Dean Ryan is hunting more Welsh exiles after finally snapping up his long-term target Jonah Holmes.

The Wales wing/full-back has signed for the region on a three-year contract after being released from the final season of a deal with Leicester.

The 27-year-old has moved from the Tigers in a bid to climb the Test pecking order and Ryan intends to keep using the carrot of international honours.

Wales centre Nick Tompkins is set to join the Dragons on a season-long loan from Saracens while Welsh-qualified lock Joe Maksymiw has been lined up to move from Connacht.

National boss Wayne Pivac has made no secret of his preference for players to be with regions – his Six Nations squad featured nine that were England-based – and the Rodney Parade region hope to prosper.

Western Telegraph:

"We know that there is not a huge amount of movement within the regions and are looking at exile markets as opportunities to increase the strength of the Dragons," said Ryan, who tried to sign Holmes when he was boss of Worcester.

"It helps when there is a public (statement) about bringing Welsh players back and Premiership clubs are facing the challenge of having players who are not qualified for England.

"That was an opportunity (for us) and having Jonah's ability to play in a number of positions is hugely beneficial for a squad like ours.

"There is a huge amount of attraction for him to come to us and a new tournament to push on for more international honours.

"Playing one game or being in a squad, then going away to play in the Premiership and then coming back (to Wales camp) doesn't suit anybody.

"Being in a managed programme with a block of time over eight or nine months that you get the best out of yourself with is a platform for Jonah to push on."

Holmes will be on the 38-strong list of Test players that have 80 per cent of their regional contracts paid by the Welsh Rugby Union.

But even though Pivac had talks with Holmes, Ryan stressed that it was the Dragons that hunted the speedster down rather than the Wales management.

Western Telegraph:

"It's quite straightforward, it's a deal with the Dragons. We approached Leicester via his agent and have been quite active in the Welsh exiles market," he said.

"We know that Wayne is keen to get as many Welsh players back into Wales so that he can exert as much influence as possible.

"The deal was a Dragons deal. It's subsequently become a national 38 but it's our risk and our decision of Jonah to be a Dragons player, the same as any other piece of recruitment."

Holmes will now attempt to climb the Wales pecking order after being overlooked for match action in the Six Nations when Pivac plumped for Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Adams, George North, Liam Williams and Johnny McNicholl.

However, the winger insists he needs to concentrate on ousting Jordan Williams, Ashton Hewitt, Jared Rosser and Owen Jenkins at the Dragons before he can contemplate breaking into the Test XV.

"My first priority is getting a regular spot at the Dragons under Dean. That's my first focus," he said.

"When it comes to international rugby, if I can put performances in that gives me a shot in that squad then great, but I won't get that unless I play well at the Dragons.

"If it means I don't have to travel back and forth (during Wales camps) it will help and if you are playing in the PRO14 you are in the spotlight whereas you are in the distance in the Premiership.

"If you are not in the coach's eyeline for the same amount of time as everyone else it's not going to benefit you as a player."