Martyn Hazell and the Directors of The Dragons are delighted to announce the contract extensions of the three Dragons coaches, Paul Turner, Leigh Jones and Dai Rees.
All three have committed their future with the region until the end of next season and for the third season in a row The Dragons keep their coaching team at the helm giving them a strong platform on which to build for the future.
Speaking on the announcement Chairman Martyn Hazell said, "We are delighted to announce that the coaching triumvirate of Paul Turner, Leigh Jones and Dai Rees have agreed contract extensions. All are hard working individuals and as a result the team are developing into a force on the field. They have worked hard with the squad over the past two seasons and are beginning to reap the benefits. The side have secured a quarter-final place in the European Challenge Cup, are undefeated at home since September and have won eight out of ten of their last matches. As well as this the younger players have developed, been nurtured and more importantly been given opportunities to play by the coaching department. As a result 10 of our academy members have featured in the Wales U20 side for the Six Nations Championship. On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank the three coaches for their efforts, hard work and their decision to stay with The Dragons provides us with continuity as we look to establish the region at the forefront of Welsh rugby."
Paul Turner joined The Dragons at the start of the 2005/06 season when he took over as Head Coach. Speaking on his contract extension he said, "It has been a hard but enjoyable two seasons with The Dragons and I have pledged my future with the region to take the squad forward, develop players and become a force in European rugby. Anybody who has met me will know that I am passionate about Gwent rugby. The region may still be in its infancy but I have a vision where we want to be in the not too distant future. When I came to the region it was well recorded that it lacked stability in terms of coaching and I feel over the last 18 months we've come to terms with that and created some much needed stability. We are aware we are in a results business but feel we have improved in areas such as the strength of our squad and our academy structure is paying dividends. The crucial thing in me re-signing was that it is a job I enjoy and I can see that there is a future here as The Dragons continue to grow and develop as a region. I have a strong and knowledgeable coaching team alongside me and we are confident that there is something special happening with the Men of Gwent."
Forwards coach Leigh Jones is the longest established of the three coaches having been an ever-present figure since the start of regional rugby. In the first season he worked alongside Mike Ruddock and Clive Griffiths as skills coach before becoming forwards coach in the second season. Leigh commented, "As a coaching team we are very pleased with the ground we are making within the Region. Our ultimate aim is for us to be a truly Regional team that reflects the ambitions of the area. We have seen the intensity of the rugby being played at Rodney Parade become more and more as we strive to develop as a team and as a regional entity."
Like Leigh Jones, Dai Rees has made the swap from coaching the Newport team to the more intensive arena of Regional coaching and his contract extension reflects the success he has enjoyed since making the step up from Premiership to Regional rugby. "As a coach it is my job to get the best out of the players and I am delighted with the success the Regional team is getting on field. There is a tremendously talented group of players at the region and an emerging group of players that excites me and I look forward to working with Paul and Leigh to getting the best out of these players," concluded Dai.