DEAN Ryan is looking forward to Will Rowlands adding an abrasive edge to his Dragons pack – and believes Test rugby means there is even more to come from the towering Wales lock.

The 29-year-old will move to Rodney Parade from Wasps next season after signing a contract through until 2024.

Rowlands has moved to Wales to continue his international career, which started with a first cap against France in last year’s Six Nations.

The second rower has been on Ryan’s radar since he was in charge of Worcester Warriors between 2013 and 2016, and the Welsh-qualified forward was on the Dragons’ wish list before his 2020 Test bow.

Rowlands turns 30 in September yet he is far from the finished article, according to his new boss.

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“He is 6ft 7ins, international quality with an incredible work rate. That doesn't come along very often,” said Ryan.

“I also still think he has a huge amount of room to get better through his experiences at international level. There is a lot more to come from him and that's what is most exciting.”

Ryan pointed to Wasps coming agonisingly close to stunning Exeter at a rain-lashed Twickenham in October as evidence of what the lock will bring to the Dragons’ boilerhouse.

“The Premiership final against Exeter in really poor conditions, when Wasps were low on quality because of coronavirus, really showed Will's contribution to the front five,” said Ryan.

“That typified the type of player that both Wales and ourselves would want.”

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Last summer the Dragons signed a pair of Test backs in centre Nick Tompkins, on loan from Saracens, and wing/full-back Jonah Holmes from Leicester. They also brought in Welsh-qualified forwards Greg Bateman and Joe Maksymiw.

“We have looked at the exiles market as an opportunity to compete in Wales,” said Ryan. “We had successes with Jonah and Nick and have been in conversation with Will for some time.

“His subsequent successes with the Welsh national team attracted headlines and his enthusiasm and desire to get involved here at the Dragons is something that we are really excited about.”

Rowlands is leaving a Wasps side that were a driving lineout away from Premiership glory to join a Dragons team that haven’t threatened to win silverware and face an uphill struggle to be in next season’s Champions Cup.

"It's about being transparent about what the challenge is," said former Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester boss Ryan.

"We've always been quite clear that the Dragons is a different challenge to the other regions, at a different point in its time.

"But if framed in the right way it can be equally exciting. When people understand what they are joining and understand what they are there to contribute to, it does get quite exciting.

"I've never dressed it up to be anything else and that transparency has helped us in the recruitment market when talking to individuals."

Rowlands will join Joe Maksymiw and highly-promising Ben Carter as a second row option while Matthew Screech and Joe Davies are out of contract this summer.

Negotiations will take place but 28-year-old Screech, a stalwart who has made 155 appearances since being released by Cardiff Blues in 2013, has been linked with a return to the Arms Park.

“Every contract cycle is an opportunity for people to make decisions but Screechy's development here is something that we are really pleased with,” said Ryan.