DRAGONS boss Ceri Jones has dismissed speculation linking Ross Moriarty with a move to the Ospreys just a year into his stay at Rodney Parade.

Caretaker head coach Jones is in charge of retention and recruitment for next season and insists that the Wales number eight will return to Newport rather than head to Swansea after the World Cup.

The Rugby Paper reported on Sunday that the Ospreys are looking to sign up Moriarty for 2019/20 and that the Grand Slam winner, son of St Helen's favourite Paul and nephew of Whites great Richard, would be interested in heading west.

After signing from Gloucester last summer, the 2017 Lions tourist is set for his 12th Dragons appearance against the Scarlets at Judgement Day on Saturday.

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Jones insists Moriarty, comfortably the region's biggest earner, will add to that tally next season rather than starting afresh at the Ospreys.

"Ross is under contract next year and it's the first that I have heard of it," said Jones, who will be with the Dragons next season whether as head coach or forwards coach.

"Why would we be wanting to release our best players to anyone? That's just not going to happen as far as I am concerned, so I don't know where that rumour has come from.

"I find it quite strange that last month the Ospreys were apparently going out of business and now apparently they want to sign Ross on an awful lot of money, so you tell me."

The Ospreys talked about merging with the Scarlets twice this season either side of discussing joining forces with Cardiff Blues.

Since killing off those proposals they have signed Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe from their rivals in the capital and have been busy agreeing fresh terms with a raft of their internationals.

"We are definitely interested in quality players but it all comes down to availability and budgets," said coach Allen Clarke to WalesOnline when asked about interest in Wales stars.

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The Dragons will operate with a significantly smaller budget than all three of their Welsh rivals and there won't be the dramatic change of last summer, when Bernard Jackman brought in a glut of players including internationals Moriarty, Richard Hibbard, Ryan Bevington, Aaron Jarvis, Rhodri Williams and Brandon Nansen.

Jones is still eyeing a couple of new recruits to add to the squad after an disappointing season that sees the region sitting bottom of Conference B in the Guinness PRO14.

"There are not going to be a million signings but do we want to add quality to the group? Yes, 100 per cent," he said.

"But for us it's about getting better and, let's be honest, we haven't been good enough this year. We should have achieved more with the squad that we have got.

"There are a million excuses that I could make with the change of management and everything that else has gone on [with uncertainty over Project Reset], because I don't think any of the Welsh regions have achieved what they wanted to this season.

"My job, regardless of my role, will be to make things better and improve."