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Turner Takes Over the Reins

Newport Gwent Dragons are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Turner as head coach to the Region.

Kath McCarthy | 09/05/2005

Newport Gwent Dragons are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Turner as head coach to the Region. Paul will head up the coaching team and will have the services of Leigh Jones as his assistant. Ryan Campbell remains in charge of the fitness and conditioning of the squad.

Speaking on his new job Paul commented, “I am looking forward to the challenge in my home region and feel that I have gained a huge amount of experience after 13 years in England. I believe that I can bring and add something to the region. I have got very good coaching and management staff around me, which is one of the reasons I took the job on. Next season is going to be a huge challenge given that budgets are a lot tighter but also the Celtic League is set to be more of a challenge with games based on non-international weekends. The main part of my job without a doubt is to get the very best out of the current squad and having watched from afar over the last two years since the formation of The Dragons I have admired their style of play and they have the ability to be one of the more attractive sides in the Celtic League which was another reason for taking on the job. Summer is going to be extremely taxing as it always is for the players and while it won’t take me long to find my feet I know I have the staff around me who will offer their full support and benefit of their advice.”

Speaking on the appointment of Paul Turner as new Dragons head coach, Chief Executive Andy Marinos said, “We are delighted to welcome a coach of the experience and calibre of Paul Turner on board. He is from the Region and has a huge understanding of how important rugby is in the area and to the people. In Paul and Leigh Jones we have assembled a very strong and knowledgeable coaching team who will lead the ambitious Gwent Region. The strength and expertise of our coaching team and squad sends out a clear message that we want to achieve on the rugby stage. In the squad we have a number of younger players who have been successful at International U21 level and investing in the future of the Region will bear fruits in the forthcoming season. We have eight Welsh Grand Slam squad winners and two British Lions so the quality is there for all to see.”

Paul Turner is more than a familiar face to the people of Gwent. He was born in Newbridge and played fly half for the club and also for Newport. In 1989 he won three international caps. Paul has vast experience in the hot bed of England’s Zurich Premiership and has established himself as something of an innovative coach. His first coaching role was as a player/coach with Sale in 1991 winning them promotion to the old first division in 1993/94. In 1995/96 he become Director of Coaching at Bedford. Paul had a spell at Saracens with South African World Cup winning captain Francois Piennar before joining Gloucester as backs coach.

More recently Paul has been with NEC Harlequins. Paul will have an ambitious squad to work with and a mixture of younger and experienced players at his disposal. The Dragons have secured the signature of Bryn Griffiths and have been boosted by the news that Chris Anthony, Nathan Brew, Luke Charteris, Jason Forster, Ian Gough, Michael Owen, Jamie Ringer and Kevin Morgan have pledged their future to the ambitious Gwent Region. Joining the impressive squad of players are Newport’s Gethin Robinson and Kieran Crawford and having secured the U21 Grand Slam with Wales scrum half James Ireland, fly half Aled Thomas and back row player Chris Davies join The Dragons on development contracts.

Wales U21 internationals Ricky Williams and Ben Thompson are rewarded for their commitment by gaining apprentice contracts with the Region. The Dragons have also secured the signatures of No.8 Richard Dale and Wales U21 wing Richard Fussell who also have apprentice contracts.

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