ADAM Warren believes "turnover machine" Nic Cudd embodies what it is to be a Dragon and says a new deal for the inspirational flanker has given the squad a pre-season boost.

The duo have been firm fixtures in the Rodney Parade region's team since heading west from the Scarlets, openside Cudd in 2012 and centre/wing Warren in 2015.

Warren signed a contract extension in March while his lift-share partner faced an uncertain future after rupturing knee ligaments in training in February.

However, the 30-year-old has signed a new deal and will work with the Dragons academy while rehabilitating with the aim of a return to the field at the end of the year.

New boss Dean Ryan is blessed with back row options and Warren is delighted that Cudd will soon be scrapping for the 7 jersey.

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"Cuddy is a real grafter and has shown over the years what he can do on the field. He's a turnover machine so we're thrilled he is staying," said the back from Burry Port.

"He's had a few bad injuries and had some tough decisions recently over what he was going to do next.

"He wanted to continue, he loves playing at this region, so I was pleased to see him get it sorted and can't wait to see what he can do when he gets back on the field.

"Cuddy epitomises what it is to be a Dragon - everyone loves him. Everyone looks up to him as a tough bloke and everyone has respect for him.

"The back row set-up we have now, we definitely have a lot of grafters and some superbly talented players. It's going to be a real battle for a place."

Warren is preparing for his fifth season at the Dragons and has started life under his fourth boss with director of rugby Ryan following Bernard Jackman, Kingsley Jones and Lyn Jones in the hotseat.

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"There was a lot of change last season. We've had change this summer too, but we've all had a good break now, it's all settled down and it feels fresh here," he said.

"I'm excited about what is to come. As a region we're always trying to improve and challenge teams consistently.

"Last season we did that a few times, particularly in the derby games when we showed what we can do, and if we can do that on a consistent basis it will be a great place to be."

The Dragons squad face a long summer with the World Cup meaning that they don't get the Guinness PRO14 under way until the last weekend of September.

Nonetheless, Warren and his rivals for midfield spots Jack Dixon, Tyler Morgan and Tiaan Loots are grafting hard, although Tom Griffiths, a new recruit from European champions Saracens, faces a delay after an operation on an ankle problem.

"Pre-season has gone well so far," said Warren, who needs six more appearances to notch his Dragons century. "We started early, but we had a good first block to get some size on and we did double gym every day.

"It's been a tasty start and there has been some soreness, but it's a long pre-season so it's important we don't try and force things too early with ball work.

"Dean has come in and wants to strip it back a little bit, try and find his own way to set us up to play for the season."