After another difficult year for the Dragons, will the appointment of new coach Darren Edwards improve things at Rodney Parade, asks our sports correspondent Richard Morgan?
Ever since regional rugby began, the Dragons have been Welsh rugby’s Cinderella team.
Lacking a rich benefactor to subsidise them, they are the only one of the four to be trophy-less in the regional age, and the only one never to have progressed beyond the pool stages of the Heineken Cup.
While the gritty, fighting spirit has never been in doubt, particularly at their home fortress of Rodney Parade, the Gwent side’s lack of quality has left them wanting.
That being the case, you wonder if the appointment of a new coach is anything more than a cosmetic change.
That’s not to decry the qualities of Darren Edwards, who seems to have injected the Dragons with some extra zip since taking over the reins, and who’s highly respected for his work with the Wales under 20’s. It’s also good to see a young welsh coach in a top job – Edwards is 36 – as we start to plan for the post-Warren Gatland era.
But one must conclude that the key to the Dragons breathing fire once again lies not on the coaching field, but in the boardroom. The return of Tony Brown behind the scenes must be a positive step, as is the continuing development of Rodney Parade.
There are also rumours of some decent new playing recruits, though nothing of the Gary Teichmann calibre just yet. The success enjoyed by the Blues and Ospreys in recent times has been underpinned by foreign stars like Jerry Collins and Xavier Rush.
If the Dragons could sign 3 of 4 players of that quality, then you might just see a renaissance at Rodney.