THE Dragons are in advanced talks with Brok Harris over a contract extension, with the stalwart prop hoping to sign fresh terms in the next fortnight.

The 34-year-old has started all six Guinness PRO14 games this season and is poised to be a key figure at loosehead in the European Challenge Cup opener against Castres at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The South African, who arrived from the Stormers in 2014, signed a short-term deal in the summer that expires in the coming months but his value to the region has been emphasised at the start of the campaign.

With former Wales props Ryan Bevington (knee) and Aaron Jarvis (hamstring) sidelined, the Dragons have been down to Harris backed up by 20-year-old prospect Josh Reynolds and Jack Cosgrove, a summer signing from Worcester.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan said last month that he was keen to keep Harris but stressed that money was tight.

The parties have been thrashing out terms, as well as the length of the contract extension, in recent weeks and a deal is close.

Campaign Series:

"We are in negotiations and Dean wants me to stay," said Harris, who is 35 in February. "We are chatting and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will get it over the line.

"(As a family) we have been here for five years now, this is our home and the kids are settled, so we are looking to stay a bit longer and hopefully in the next two weeks there will be clarity around that."

Harris has played 366 minutes of a possible 480 this season and has still been on the field as the clock ticked past 70 in four of the last five games.

His sole minor role was when he suffered a second-minute concussion in the loss to Connacht, and the scrum was destroyed in his absence.

Campaign Series:

"It's been good to get game time and be starting every week," said Harris, who has made 113 appearances. "I am happy to keep playing – whatever is expected of me, I'll do.

"I will keep my head down and try to perform week in, week out, keeping my standards high."

Harris is just as important to the Dragons off the field and is playing a role in the development of Reynolds and young tighthead Chris Coleman.

"It would be a huge boost for the club," said forwards coach Ceri Jones about a new contract.

"Brok is one of the most reliable players we've got, he's a great professional and it's great to have him in the environment."

Jarvis is nearing a return to action after being sidelined since rupturing his hamstring against the Scarlets in January.

He is likely to be used as a loosehead rather than tighthead given that boss Ryan has Leon Brown and Lloyd Fairbrother as options for the 3 jersey.

The Dragons will weigh up whether to bring Jarvis back this weekend to face a Castres side that will bring plenty of grunt up front.

"The French tradition is to scrum and maul, so it was a really good outing for us in Edinburgh last weekend," said Harris.

"We will face exactly the same thing, it's going to be a forward battle but we can handle that. They will come to try and dominate, but at Rodney Parade we will definitely be up for it."