NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have received a boost ahead of Friday's must-win clash against Connacht after centre Ashley Smith got the all-clear on his right hand, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 25-year-old played a huge role in the region’s attack sparking into life in Sunday’s LV= Cup encounter with Northampton, providing scoring passes for two of Tonderai Chavanga’s three tries.

However, he was forced from the field in the second half and the initial prognosis was that the inside centre had suffered a broken hand.

He went for a scan yesterday and the Dragons were pleasantly surprised when it revealed that nothing is damaged.

It means that Smith, who skippered the side against the Saints, will be available for selection against Connacht in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Friday.

Smith said: "We cannot allow the run to hang over us and hinder our performance – we need to express ourselves against Connacht.

"We did that against Northampton and we need to do it again, because the run might be putting us under pressure but its up to us to deal with that as professionals.

"The performance was a lot better on Sunday but we need to eradicate the silly mistakes that allowed Northampton to pull away in the third quarter (when they scored 18 unanswered points).

"Because we showed our attacking intent and looked sharp, while the defence was a lot better in terms of its width and line speed.

"Northampton are a very strong side but the boys were gutted afterwards and straight away were looking forward to Connacht."