Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan has suggested that back-rower Ross Moriarty could be available for Wales before the end of this year’s Guinness Six Nations.
The 26-year-old is expected to make his return to domestic action for the Newport-based club during the 2021 Championship, in which Wales host Ireland in Round 1 on February 7.
Having sustained an ankle injury while training with Wales ahead of the Autumn Nations Cup, Moriarty underwent surgery in late November but is now firmly on the path back to full fitness.
McGeechan wants Wales to lean on experience
And though he is not yet back in full training, Ryan is confident Moriarty – who has so-far made 18 Guinness Six Nations appearances – will be in the frame for an international return before the series concludes in late March.
“I think that we will see Ross in both over the next period because he will definitely be back for us soon,” Ryan told the South Wales Argus.
“He’s not training yet and is on a bit of longer timeframe than some of the other players we’ve got coming back.
“But once he gets a couple of games, I am pretty sure he will be a stand-out and ready for if Wales need him.”
James Botham missed out on selection for Wayne Pivac’s Championship squad, as the New Zealander instead plumped for Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Josh Macleod as his back-row options.
But the Cardiff Blues star – who featured three times for the 2019 Grand Slam champions during the Autumn Nations Cup but is yet to make his Guinness Six Nations bow – is hungry to establish himself as a key figure in the forward pack.
Having featured twice in the famous red jersey as a blindside flanker, Botham, 22, has his long-term sights set on Justin Tipuric’s No.7 shirt.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “I do prefer No.7, I think that suits me better. But the competition for that jersey in Wales is very high, which is also a good thing because you can’t slacken off, you have to be on your game to have any shot of getting it, which is great.
“I’d love if I put some size on to be able to look at the No.8 role as well but for me No.6 or No.7 it just depends on how the coach wants to play. Sometimes you see the No.6 and No.7 being very similar.”