Dean Ryan has been confirmed as the new man in charge at the Dragons – and given far more power than any of his coaching rivals.
The Newport-based region today confirmed Ryan as their new director of rugby. But as well as taking charge of coaching, the former England international has also been given a seat on the region’s board.
It means Ryan – who has coached both Gloucester and Worcester in the English Premiership – will have a big influence on the future direction of the region as they seek to alter their habitual status as the weakest of the four in Wales.
Ryan, 52, will take up his new role this summer from the RFU, where he has been head of international player development since 2016.
Ryan said: “It was always going to take a unique challenge to bring me back in to the club environment and following my discussions with David Buttress and the WRU I’m hugely excited about what lies ahead.
“I will take a hands-on role with the playing department and use my influence as a Board member to address various issues so that the Dragons are set up from top to bottom to ensure everything is geared around the on-field and off-field success of the region.”
Ryan replaces caretaker Ceri Jones, who took over from Bernard Jackman after the Irishman was sacked as head coach in December.
Jones is expected to remain with the region and revert to his former role as forwards coach.
Dragons chairman David Buttress said: “After an extensive and competitive process, it became clear Dean has the experience and skill-set to offer something greater and more beneficial to the Dragons and this new role we’ve created will see him have a voice at Board level and an input across the organisation.
“Our immediate need is the on-field success of the first team and Dean will lead the coaching team in preparation for next season as he gets to know the players and staff in the playing department.
“We are excited to see the impact Dean can have on rugby in Gwent for the Dragons.”
As director of rugby at Gloucester for four years from 2005, Ryan and the Cherry and Whites lifted the European Challenge Cup in 2006 before reaching the Premiership Final in 2007.
Ryan has also been an analyst for Sky Sports and spent a brief spell at Gwent as a consultant to the Dragons in 2012, before three seasons as director of rugby at Worcester Warriors.
He led the Sixways side to promotion back to the English top-flight at the first time of asking, as well as winning the British & Irish Cup in 2015.
The Dragons have struggled to win more than a handful games in the last four seasons and Ryan will take over a team without a Guinness PRO14 win away from home since March, 2015.