Ryan: Flanagan move strengthens us


Dean Ryan has welcomed the appointment of Dai Flanagan as the new Head Coach at Dragons – and underlined his own commitment to help bring about change at the club.

Flanagan was unveiled as the newest member of the coaching team at Rodney Parade on Tuesday morning, after leaving his previous Backs Coach role at Scarlets.

Director of Dragons Rugby Ryan is now looking forward to working with Flanagan in a move that he insists will only strengthen Dragons.

“The decision was taken to look at how we strengthen, as part of us moving the Dragons into a new period,” said Ryan.

“I’m delighted to be able to welcome Dai. I have been incredibly impressed by his passion for the region, his desire to be involved in the new direction and to bring his experiences here.

“When looking around Wales we felt this is the person who needs that next chance and opportunity and environment where he can continue to develop.

“It will strengthen us,” he added. “Dai’s focus is going to be on day to day. It’s difficult for that to be mine with the role I have here at the club. I think that makes the two of us a stronger unit.

“Am I still going to coach? Yes. Am I responsible for rugby? Yes. How will it work? We have got to work that out. Does it change my role? It makes it a bit easier because I was probably trying to cover too many things. When it goes wrong it will be my vote, when it goes right it will be Dai’s!

“I always find it is people who have challenging ideas, strength of opinions, that make places stronger. How it works is for us to find out and I am looking forward to it.

“It makes my role a bit easier because I was trying to cover too many areas. It does change the way we evolve forward because we have a new personality.”

As part of the new structure, Dragons have confirmed that Gordon Ross has left the club and Ryan praised the former Backs Coach for his contribution.

“Going back a couple of years, we had to add support and I can’t speak highly enough of Gordon, in terms of the support he provided,” said Ryan.

“But I felt we also needed to move towards a more high-performing situation that could challenge, support and lead. I felt we were light in the coaching team.

“It is a constant evolving process about how we get better. The last six months, whether that is playing or coaching, has probably been the most difficult time here that we have ever had.

“We must make difficult decisions and I’ve worked with Gordon for a long time and some of the players here. But you have to focus on the need for change and we needed to strengthen in every area we could.”

On his own future, Ryan also underlined his own commitment to Dragons and his determination to bring about successful change.

“The responsibility for rugby here is mine and that tends to come with all the negatives - I have no problem with that,” he said.

“I committed to David (Buttress) that I will make the decisions that get this club pointed in the right direction. I committed to Dai that I will create an environment that allows him to develop.

“We are stronger now. There are still tough decisions to be made by Dragons and there are still decisions that need to be made from the day to day. That is why the two of us are stronger for it.

“I came here with a commitment to David to get this place pointed in the right direction, not to see how long I can last here, that would be a foolish move.

“I believe, predominantly because of some of the challenges around Covid, we haven’t been able to make the strides and last year was the time we knew we we’re going to change. That is what I came here to do.

“I remain committed to David, and this is part of that process and hopefully it moves us into clearer waters.”

I’m delighted to be able to welcome Dai... I have been incredibly impressed by his passion for the region, his desire to be involved in the new direction and to bring his experiences here...
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