THE Dragons have backed the potential of Tom Griffiths after giving the centre a fresh one-year contract despite a serious knee injury that will sideline him for most of next season.

The 24-year-old joined from European champions Saracens last summer on a one-year deal and, after an operation on a existing ankle issue, made his debut against Castres in November.

The powerful centre, who can play 12 or 13, made six appearances and was settling into the side when he ruptured knee ligaments in a February training session against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

His rehabilitation is going well but the 6ft2ins, 15st back won't return to action until the second half of 2020/21.

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Nonetheless, the Dragons liked what they saw and have committed to helping Griffiths on the comeback trail, just as they did with flanker Nic Cudd last year.

"Tom showed promise during a campaign that was sadly ended prematurely by injury," said director of rugby Dean Ryan.

"We are now fully supporting Tom throughout his recovery as he is a player we believe will develop in our environment in the long-term.

"We all wish him well with his rehabilitation and look forward to his return in the future."

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Griffiths, who is from Gloucester with a father from Llanelli, is aiming to reward the faith shown in him by Ryan & Co.

"I really enjoyed my first season with Dragons and the progress we made as a group so I'm pleased to sign the extension," said Griffiths, who impressed in his duel with Wales centre Scott Williams in the January derby win against the Ospreys.

"It is frustrating to be ruled out with injury, but my rehabilitation is going well and I'm determined to make a successful return and repay the faith that has been put in me by Dean and the coaching team."

With Griffiths sidelined until at least 2021, the Dragons have Jack Dixon, Adam Warren and Connor Edwards as their confirmed senior options along with up-and-coming 12 Aneurin Owen.

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Nick Tompkins is poised to arrive from Saracens on a season-long loan to boost his Wales hopes while the region are in advanced talks with Joe Tomane, who has spent the last two seasons with Leinster.

The 30-year-old won all 17 of his Australia caps on the wing but is being targeted as a strong-running inside centre with distributions skills.

Owen is seen as one for the future and will be expected to push for a senior debut after leaving age-grade rugby.

The ball-playing centre was a key figure for Wales Under-20s and has impressed with Ebbw Vale in the Premiership.

The 19-year-old from Newport is a former fly-half and had an intensive conditioning programme to add the bulk needed to be a professional centre.