Dragons coach Darren Edwards wants recruitment boost

Darren Edwards
Edwards was named successor to Paul Turner as Dragons coach in April

Darren Edwards admits Newport Gwent Dragons must seriously consider upping their budget due to the number of his players in Wales' training squad.

But the Rodney Parade coach feels the Dragons are more attractive to possible signings due to their stars in Warren Gatland's preliminary World Cup squad.

"My recruitment policy has shot out of the window having so many in the Welsh squad," Edwards told BBC Sport Wales.

"We must have a look at our squad. We physically do not have enough players."

Dragons back-rowers Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau have been tipped to start for Wales when Gatland's side begin their World Cup campaign against defending champions South Africa on 11 September.

Lock Luke Charteris and wing Aled Brew also started in Wales' defeat to the Barbarians in Cardiff earlier this month, while hooker Lloyd Burns came on during that 31-28 loss.

Versatile back Jason Tovey has also been added to Gatland's extended 46-man squad, which will be narrowed down to a final squad of 30 players on 22 August after Wales' three August warm-up Tests, two against England and one with Argentina.

The Dragons released 16 players at the end of last season and also lost flanker Joe Bearman to Welsh rivals the Ospreys, so recently-appointed boss Edwards already had a big rebuilding job before the Dragons' Wales success.

Edwards now admits his first job, when he returns to pre-season training on Monday, is to persuade the Dragons board to improve his transfer kitty to cover those away on international duty.

When asked if his playing budget should be raised, Edwards said: "It will have to be a serious consideration.

"We were going in with a lightweight squad because we were investing in our infrastructure. We thought that was our most important thing over the next 12 months as we go through a transition period.

"I didn't expect that [the number of Wales call-ups] but it is great for us, as that means players coming to the Dragons can realise their ambitions.

"Every player's ambitions should be playing for their country so I'm happy our guys are playing for Wales.

"And they have all done particularly well so I'm not expecting to see that many of them back - so I will have to look outside and see what I can do about filling those holes."

The Dragons also have European commitments next season - starting on the weekend of 12 and 13 November - as they face French giants Perpignan, English side Exeter Chiefs and Italian minnows Cavalieri Prato in their Amlin European Challenge Cup pool.

So Edwards needs to bolster his squad to be "competitive" in all competitions.

"It will be tough but we are trying to establish a bit of consistency," said Edwards.

"If we have any kind of ambition of doing well in the Heineken Cup, we have to make sure we do well in the Amlin."

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