LOCK Brandon Nansen will play for Brive in France’s Top 14 after leaving the Dragons.

Discussions were held with the Samoa international about extending his stay at Rodney Parade but he will instead return to the French top tier.

The 26-year-old signed from Stade Francais in 2018 but endured an injury-plagued spell in Wales.

Hard-hitting Nansen was just settling into life with the Dragons when he ruptured his hamstring at the Scarlets in January 2019, ending his first season after just 12 games.

The three-times capped forward missed out on the World Cup and then suffered a broken forearm in the opening stages of the pre-season fixture against the Scarlets.

He featured just three times for director of rugby Dean Ryan and all of those appearances off the bench with a combined total of 42 minutes.

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The Dragons had looked into the possibility of a new deal at a lower rate but the Aucklander is heading for Brive, where he will play under former Ireland lock Jeremy Davidson.

"Just like that my two years in Wales have come to an end," he wrote on Instagram last week. "Thank you to everyone who welcomed me into the Dragons family.

"It's been a rollercoaster of a ride. I've made some great memories and lifelong friends. Onto the next challenge."

The Dragons have signed Welsh-qualified lock Joe Maksymiw from Connacht and are monitoring Wales second rower Will Rowlands, although he is under contract at Wasps.

Matthew Screech and Joe Davies are the senior locks, backed up by up-and-comers Max Williams and Ben Carter plus back row forwards Lewis Evans and Huw Taylor.