'Thoughtful Dai is no soft touch' - Dragons coach lauds steel of boss Flanagan

TEAM: Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan (right) with forwards coach Luke Narraway
TEAM: Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan (right) with forwards coach Luke Narraway

THE Dragons haven’t just swapped bad cop for good cop by giving ‘thoughtful’ Dai Flanagan the reins, according to forwards coach Luke Narraway.

Flanagan has made a rapid rise to calling the shots at Rodney Parade after joining from the Scarlets in the summer.

He was brought in to work under Dean Ryan but the director of rugby was shown the door after the crushing 44-6 loss at Edinburgh on the opening weekend of the United Rugby Championship.

The Dragons are yet to confirm his exit – it could be a drawn-out process while a financial settlement is sorted – but Flanagan is now the man in charge.

The former fly-half was hailed by captain Will Rowlands for his “emotional intelligence” before the start of the campaign and the new boss appears to have pulled the squad together.

Last season there were murmurings of discontent under the rule of stern Ryan but the team looked liberated in the fiery performances against Munster and the Sharks.

Flanagan is keen to empower his squad but Narraway has stressed that the 37-year-old is no soft touch.

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan

“Dai definitely knows what he wants, that's for sure,” said the former England forward, who was brought in by Ryan in 2019 “He has got a clear vision of how he wants his Dragons team to play, and that is going to take time.

“He is a quietly-spoken guy who is very thoughtful and reflective but I wouldn't let that fool you, he has definitely got a steel to him.”

“I knew Dai from a couple of coaching meetings before,” he continued. “I am really enjoying his outlook on things and the way that he likes to play.

“He is a local boy that wants to do well for the region. He has straightaway got the boys on that and is working really well with them.

“We've got to make sure we get better each week and keep working hard on the things that we identify [as coaches].”

Dragons coach Luke Narraway

Former back rower Narraway works with ex-hooker Mefin Davies to get the pack firing and it has been a job well done so far this season.

The forwards went toe-to-toe with Munster and the Sharks, who had demolished them at the set piece in Durban last season.

“Mef is one of the best scrum coaches that I have worked with and we bounce off each other pretty well,” said Narraway.

“We are pretty happy with where the pack is but we can get even better. The summer signings have elevated us to a different level through competition in training.”