Ollie Griffiths’ potential has been described as “frightening” as the injury-plagued Welsh international makes his latest return to action.
The Dragons back rower has arguably been the unluckiest player in Wales in recent years.
There has been a consistent theme to his career path.
He regains fitness, produces a series of outstanding performances to put himself in the Wales frame, and then he gets crocked again.
There has been a catalogue of issues: hamstring surgery, a leg injury, a broken jaw, bicep surgery, hamstring again, ankle operation and, most recently, bicep once more.
It all means he has been limited to just the one Wales cap, as a replacement against Tonga at Auckland’s Eden Park in June 2017.
It’s been hugely frustrating, not least for him, as he has so much to offer with his work over the ball and his dynamic carrying.
But now he’s ready to get out there again, as he starts on the openside flank against the Ospreys in Sunday’s Rainbow Cup clash at Rodney Parade.
Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan is delighted to have him back and feels the sky’s the limit in terms of what the 26-year-old from Newbridge can achieve.
“The frightening thing is how good could Ollie be,” he said.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen him in a really consistent run to be able to develop off the back of things he’s done.
“I want to get him in a situation where he is playing regularly, so we can help him get better.
“I don’t think there’s any question over his ability to play at the highest level.
“He is fully aware he needs to get that rhythm going of playing games.”
Ryan continued: “Everybody shares the desire to see him consistently play.
“The problem when you’ve got a poor injury record is every time you get a bump everyone thinks it’s very serious.
“He was probably fit a week ago and we didn’t pick him. So this week he’s desperate to get out there.
“We have seen the impact he can have on games coming back from injury.
“His performance out in Ulster [in October], given the time he had been away, was phenomenal and that’s the type of player he is.
“Everybody would wish him some stability from week to week.”
With Griffiths returning, the Dragons find themselves really well-blessed in the back row, with the likes of Aaron Wainwright, Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham, Harrison Keddie, Dan Baker and Ben Fry also vying for selection.
“I’ve never in 18 months picked from a full back row, but I am getting close to that,” said Ryan.
“We have got great talent in that area and I think they are driving each other on to higher and higher performances.
“Aaron and Ross have been outstanding for the last couple of weeks.
“It will be Ollie’s turn now to show the level of performance he can turn up with.”
Meanwhile, Wales and Lions hooker Richard Hibbard is fit again to face his former region.
That’s timely with Elliot Dee sidelined by a calf problem and Rhys Lawrence banned for three matches following his sending off against Cardiff Blues last weekend.