WALES Sevens international Owen Jenkins hopes Dean Ryan's desire for the Dragons to play with pace and intensity will help him thrive in Olympic year, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 26-year-old former Cardiff Blues winger has linked up with the Rodney Parade region in pre-season and is set to feature in the Celtic Cup.

Jenkins and fellow sevens specialist Ben Roach, who played nine times for the Dragons in the back row in 2017/18, are contracted by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The national coaches have placed their players with the four regions so that they can tune-up for the World Rugby Sevens Series, which starts in December and builds towards next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

Jenkins believes he is prospering thanks to the region's new director of rugby wanting his team to play at high tempo.

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"The workload is similar. Dean Ryan wants the Dragons to play fast and intense rugby, so training has matched that," he said.

"We're covering similar distances and high speeds as we would in a sevens session."

Jenkins played for Wales at last year's Commonwealth Games and the World Cup, while he was his country's leading try scorer in the World Rugby series with 16 in 48 matches.

The speedster made eight appearances for the Blues and is relishing a temporary return to the 15-a-side game, with the Dragons' Celtic Cup campaign starting against Connacht Eagles in Galway a week on Friday.

"It's been really good," said Jenkins. "I knew quite a lot of the boys, so that made settling in pretty easy, although it's quite tough getting back up to speed with 15s.

"It's been four years since I was last part of a 15s set-up, but I'm getting there now.

"There are things you have to adjust to. For example, having fewer opportunities to get your hands on the ball in 15s, you've got to make sure you're accurate in what you do when that chance does come around.

"One of the main reasons I wanted to do this pre-season was that it's been a long while since I was last involved in 15s, so it's beneficial to mix things up a bit.

"I feel refreshed mentally and that's one of the many positives I'm taking from this opportunity."

The Dragons start the Celtic Cup at Connacht (kick-off 2pm) before entertaining Munster A at Rodney Parade on Friday, August 30.

The region also welcome the Scarlets to Newport for a double-header, with Ryan's seniors taking on their west Wales rivals afterwards.

The Dragons are yet to confirm the venues for home games against Ulster and the Ospreys.