Newport Gwent Dragons' name changed to Dragons

Dragons logo

Newport Gwent Dragons' name has been changed to Dragons following their takeover by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The decision means only one Welsh region, Cardiff Blues, still carries its original name.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will help out with pre-season coaching on his return to Wales.

WRU head of rugby Geraint John is helping with player recruitment, targeting "Welsh exiles and young Welsh talent".

Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Blues were formed along with Celtic Warriors as Welsh rugby's top echelon was reduced to five teams in 2003.

A year later the Warriors, made up of a combined Bridgend-Pontypridd team, folded.

Ospreys dropped Neath-Swansea from their title in 2005 and Scarlets did likewise when Llanelli was removed from their moniker in 2008.

The WRU takeover, including the Rodney Parade ground, takes effect on 1 July, 2017.

But the name change takes immediate effect and with it comes a set of targets laid down by the governing body's chief executive Martyn Phillips and his Dragons counterpart Stuart Davies.

In year one those targets include:

  • Set up a new board and appoint a successor to chairman Martyn Hazell
  • Improved standards for player welfare, coaching and spectator experience
  • Installing a new hybrid pitch at a venue at which Newport County also play in football's League Two

Beyond that, the targets include:

  • Higher attendances
  • "Significant contributions" to community clubs in the region
  • Improved team performances
  • By 2020 Dragons to made up "predominantly" of Welsh-qualified players

A statement read: "The overriding message within the detailed plans is that rugby should thrive at all levels in the Dragons region, with the amateur and professional game aligned at every turn with men's, women's, boys' and girls' rugby given equal status in Gwent."

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