DRAGONS prospect Aneurin Owen has been studying Lions ace Owen Farrell as he looks to make the step up to regional rugby.

The 19-year-old centre is yet to make his senior debut but has trained with Dean Ryan's squad and is rated highly by the Rodney Parade management.

Owen was meant to be having a last hurrah in age-grade rugby with Wales at the World Rugby U20 Championship this summer but the tournament has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That will lead to the young back, who started out as a fly-half before being moved to midfield, returning earlier than planned for a long pre-season.

The aim for Owen, who is from Newport but went to Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool, will be to force his way into Ryan's matchday squad and he has been taking inspiration from England and Saracens 10/12 Farrell.

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"I've always wanted to play for Dragons," he said. "I was ten when I got a season ticket and always supported them during my time with the academy. It's where I want to play.

"When I was growing up it was always players like Jason Tovey and Ashley Smith that you would look up to as a centre.

"Today I look at people like Owen Farrell and how he drives a team and constantly produces performances. He is someone to look towards."

Owen played for Ebbw Vale in the Premiership last season but in 2019/20 he was put on a conditioning programme to add the bulk needed to mix it with senior centres.

He worked alongside the first team before suffering a hamstring injury that led to a spell on the sidelines before he was an ever-present in the U20 Six Nations.

Owen believes the tips learnt from Jack Dixon, Adam Warren, Tyler Morgan and Tom Griffiths have served him well.

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"I started with the senior team back in September and I've really enjoyed getting used to that environment and being around a different set of boys," he said.

"There are a lot of great players there, a lot of very good coaches, and as long as I'm improving week on week then I'm happy.

"I want to keep challenging myself against better players and over a period of months you do become a better player in that environment.

"You want to keep adding those one per cents on and that means each training session, each week. You slowly become a better player and then you can make that step up.

"When you train with the seniors I don't think lots changes, in terms of skills or technique. But you have to make your decisions a lot quicker and your speed into position has got to be spot on.

"All those little aspects off the ball, that is what makes the difference. Your communication needs to go up a level because everything happens a lot quicker at this level."

Owen now wants to follow in the footsteps of the glut of academy colleagues who have been given a crack under director of rugby Ryan.

"Dean has been class. He is an experienced guy, knows his stuff and he has been great looking to get us all moving forward," said Owen.

"The message across the board, to all the players, has been how you perform in training will reflect on whether you get a chance to play. He has been totally honest with everyone - that is all you can ask for.

"Dean is always having conversations with the boys and as long as your boss is honest, and you know where you stand with him, then it is a good place. It's been a really positive place to be.

"Every week we've looked to improve, every week people are enjoying it and every week we are being challenged and trying to get better. It has been a really good place to learn and develop."