Silence from Dragons after speculation under-pressure boss Ryan is leaving

·2-min read
PRESSURE: Dragons boss Dean Ryan
PRESSURE: Dragons boss Dean Ryan

THE Dragons will not comment on reports that director of rugby Dean Ryan has left his role at Rodney Parade.

The boss slammed the performance of his players in their 44-6 loss to Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship opener.

There has since been speculation that the club has parted company with the former England forward, who was appointed in 2019 on an initial three-year contract.

The Argus understands that Ryan has been involved as a Dragons representative in Professional Rugby Board discussions this week.

Head coach Dai Flanagan has led training in Ystrad Mynach and did the media duties ahead of Sunday’s game with Munster.

Dean Ryan with Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan

It was always the plan that the former fly-half, who headed east from the Scarlets this summer, would shoulder a lot of the responsibility for pre-match preparations this season with Ryan dealing with off-field duties.

That is no small task given the state of professional rugby in Wales but the former Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester coach has still been a presence on matchday for the pre-season friendlies and in Edinburgh.

All eyes will be on Rodney Parade on Sunday afternoon to see if he is present, with no announcements planned by the Dragons.

Ryan is also on the Dragons board as a director with the accounts for the year ending June 30, 2021 stating that he was paid £232,565 (down from £284,012 in 2020 due to Covid).

His first season after succeeding Bernard Jackman was relatively strong but the second campaign was mixed and 2021/22 was a disaster, featuring just two wins.

Nonetheless, the Dragons stuck with Ryan and he spearheaded a recruitment drive that led to the arrivals of the likes of Rob Evans, Rhodri Jones, Bradley Roberts, JJ Hanrahan, Sean Lonsdale and Sio Tomkinson.

Ryan has a win record of 26 per cent in all competitions, just one per cent better than predecessors Jackman and Kingsley Jones despite having more financial backing and a bigger staff.

His blunt approach when trying to tackle historical failures at the Dragons has put him at loggerheads with players in the past and eyebrows were raised after his comments in Edinburgh.

“We've got supposed talent in that side, but I don't see it at the moment,” he said.

“I don't see the work rate that is needed. I don't see the desire to be in the right position.”

In response to a supporter comment, chairman David Buttress posted on social media: "Always important to get behind the players, they give a lot and always do. Let’s stay together."

If the Welsh Rugby Union-owned Dragons are to part company with Ryan then they will need to come up with a financial package after his deal was extended.