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THE Dragons will be without Aki Seiuli for their return to action in the United Rugby Championship after allowing the prop to join up with Samoa.

The loosehead has been selected in the international squad for their fixture against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.

The fixture is outside World Rugby’s Test window so the Dragons are not required to release the summer signing from Glasgow.

However, Dean Ryan has opted to let the front rower play at Twickenham with Greg Bateman and Josh Reynolds his leading options for Saturday’s game against Edinburgh at Rodney Parade (kick-off 5.15pm).

“The 28-year-old joins the squad with the Dragons blessing and we wish Aki all the best as he looks to make his international debut,” said a statement.

POWER: Dragons prop Aki Seiuli of Dragons charges into Dmitri Arhip of Cardiff

Uncapped Seiuli was called up by Samoa in the summer but could not face the Maori All Blacks or Tonga because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

He headed to the Dragons after two seasons with Glasgow and played in every game of the first block in the URC, with three starts and two appearances off the bench.

The Dragons have let him join up with Samoa as they start to prepare for the World Cup, when they will go up against England, Japan and Argentina plus a qualifier.

Meanwhile, the management team will assess which members of their Wales contingent they will use in Newport this weekend after varying amounts of play over the autumn.

The Dragons suffered two injury blows with back rower Ross Moriarty likely to be out until the run-in after needing shoulder surgery while lock Will Rowlands missed the Australia finale because of a head injury.

Hooker Elliot Dee is likely to be in the mix for Edinburgh after a pre-series neck injury led to him being released back to his club and then recalled for a cameo off the bench against the Wallabies.

Lock Ben Carter had an extremely brief appearance against South Africa and came on in the first half on Saturday but it was the 20-year-old’s first intense autumn campaign.

One of the locks is likely to be needed along with Joe Davies and Joe Maksymiw.

IMPRESSIVE: Taine Basham started all four autumn Tests

Taine Basham appears unlikely to play after a superb series in which the 21-year-old flanker was arguably Wales’ player of the campaign, starting in all four Tests.

His fellow back rower Aaron Wainwright also had a heavy workload with starts against New Zealand, the Springboks and Wallabies, when he returned from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the win against Fiji.

Tighthead Mesake Doge was in away XV for that clash in Cardiff and also played in the draw against Georgia last weekend while scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou came off the bench for Argentina in Ireland on Sunday.

The Dragons entertain Edinburgh, head to Glasgow and then start their European Challenge Cup campaign with a trip to Perpignan and home clash with Lyon before the festive derbies.

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