Ross Moriarty: Dragons hopes for Wales forward's festive return

Ross Moriarty
Ross Moriarty joined Dragons from Gloucester ahead of the 2018-19 season on a two-year contract.

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan expects Ross Moriarty to be back from illness during their festive derbies.

Moriarty has not played since helping Wales finish fourth at the World Cup in Japan after suffering an illness picked up there.

Ryan also says lock or back-row Cory Hill has recovered from the stress fracture of his shin that stopped him playing at the World Cup

Hill could face Worcester in Friday's crunch European Challenge Cup game.

As a specialist number eight, Moriarty's return would be a boost as Wales look ahead of the Six Nations.

Bath has not set a date for Taulupe Faletau's return after he suffered a collarbone injury that ruled him out of the World Cup in Japan.

Cardiff Blues' Josh Navidi is also on course to return from the hamstring injury he suffered in Japan over the festive period.

Ryan said Moriarty will not figure against Worcester, but when asked if he would be fit for during the festive period, the Dragons boss said "yes".

He added: "We're just concerned with Ross getting back to full health, really. I think we're really conscious of if we move too quickly, we'll set him back.

"If we were next week I'd say both of them (Moriarty and Hill), I would be a lot further down the line."

Cory Hill
Dragons lock Cory Hill has won 24 caps for Wales

Dragons host Scarlets on Saturday, 21 December, travel to Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day and host Ospreys on 4 January, giving Ryan three options for Moriarty's return.

Hill, however, could face the English Premiership club as Dragons seek to claim pole position in the battle to top their pool and reach the quarter-finals.

Dragons top Pool 1 with Warriors second while Castres and winless Yenisey-STM Krasnoyarsk occupy third and fourth spots respectively.

Ryan said: "Cory is pretty close. He is starting to spend more time on the training field, which makes him an option.

"Cory is frustrated after this summer and is desperate to get out there, I just want to make sure we get him out there at the right time because I don't want him to go backwards.

"It has been a long slog to get him to this place and the medical team have done some great work in getting him ready and right because chasing a World Cup across the summer has left him in quite a disadvantage.

"There is nothing stopping Cory playing (on Friday)… well there is, it's whether I select him! I haven't made my mind up yet but there is nothing stopping him running around and playing a game, which is great."