DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan wants to help the next in line grasp their opportunities after injuries to Josh Lewis and Brandon Nansen stretched his already thin squad.

The Rodney Parade region could be without Lewis for the entire campaign after the fly-half ruptured knee ligaments in training while Samoa lock Nansen is likely to be out until 2020 after breaking his forearm in the pre-season fixture against the Scarlets.

The Dragons' first-choice 10 Sam Davies is now backed up by Arwel Robson and Jacob Botica, who have a combined tally of 21 professional appearances, while they are down to their last three specialist locks in Joe Davies, Matthew Screech and Max Williams as Wales forward Cory Hill is also sidelined.

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This summer Dragons signed fly-half Sam Davies from the Ospreys, centre Tom Griffiths from Saracens and loosehead Jack Cosgrove from Worcester while scrum-half Luke Baldwin is on loan from the Warriors and wing Owen Jenkins is on a short-term deal from Wales Sevens.

When asked if there was room for manoeuvre in the budget, Ryan said: "No. There isn't any.

"Unless the WRU are going to change that we haven't got any opportunity to spend more budget – we didn't keep any money back, put it that way.

"We do have to address some issues because losing someone as influential as Josh presents a challenge, and the same could be said for Brandon and Cory.

"It is a challenge but it's one that we knew about and I am focused on how I can support the next person to come in and how we can get better as a squad."

The Dragons reacted well to injury blows to wing Ashton Hewitt (cut face), flanker Ollie Griffiths (groin) and loosehead Ryan Bevington (knee) when winning 52-28 at Zebre last weekend.

Will Talbot-Davies started out wide, Taine Basham scored a try and impressed in the back row while young prop Josh Reynolds came on in the closing stages.

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"We've got to be better at moving on (from injuries) and getting people in," said Ryan.

"Will Talbot-Davies was outstanding at the weekend and we were nervous about not having Ashton there. We had the same with Owen Jenkins when we lost Jared, while for Josh Reynolds to get some time in a memorable game was great.

"There are lots of opportunities here for young men to press their claim by taking their chances and now the pressure is on Ashton to come in and play well to get back.

"That's exactly where we want to be, we want contests and we want competition for places.

"Nobody wants to be without their best players but statistically in rugby there are probably 20 per cent of your players missing all the time.

"We've just got to get better at supporting those that come in and enjoy it when they take their opportunities."

The Dragons entertain Connacht on Friday with the aim of backing-up their seven-try triumph in Parma, their first win on the road in the league since March, 2015.

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They were helped by a trademark lively display from full-back Jordan Williams, who racked up 195 metres with ball in hand, beating nine defenders, making two clear breaks and scoring a weaving try.

The 26-year-old showed plenty of gas in the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi after a stomach upset had left him a doubt.

"Full credit to Jordan, we had some illness in the camp and he was one of the worst affected," said Ryan.

"There were some concerns on Thursday and Friday about whether he would play, he wasn't well before the game and he had to tough it out.

"When you have got somebody like Jordan on the field you know that (attacking threat) is always there but sometimes you have also just got to tough it out.

"A big thanks to him, it was credit to him to get out there, let alone help score the tries."