Dragons Rugby: Dean Ryan wants more Wales players – BBC News

Dragons boss Dean Ryan welcomes long-term target Jonah Holmes

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan says the region needs to get more international players to change its status.

Ryan has signed Wales back Jonah Holmes from Leicester, while centre Nick Tompkins has been linked with a move from Saracens.

“We’ve made no secret of our desire to have more people playing international rugby from Dragons,” he said.

The region has lost Wales lock Cory Hill to Cardiff Blues.

Number eight Ross Moriarty has agreed a new contract, while Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham and Sam Davies were also involved with the Wales squad in 2019-20.

Australia centre Joe Tomane has been the subject of speculation about a move to Rodney Parade alongside Tompkins.

“Welsh regions are a balancing act between pushing people on to international honours, and creating enough stability for the region to keep moving,” Ryan told BBC Sport Wales.

“It’s a carrot for us to seek aspiration and change the pathway that the Dragons have been, we saw guys getting international squad time last year and this (Holmes) is an increase on that.”

Dragons won five out of 13 Pro14 games and four from six European Challenge Cup matches in Ryan’s first campaign in charge, with the WRU taking over after several years as the lowest-performing Welsh region.

Ross Moriarty is in his second season with Dragons

They earned a European quarter-final date away to Bristol Bears, if the competition can be completed after the coronavirus pandemic eases.

“Aspirationally for the players, that’s really important but I’m sure there’ll be a lot of debate as to what the formats will be, and if it actually happens.” said Ryan.

“We want to qualify for everything we can, and I’ve got to work out on how we resource that on one of the smaller budgets.”

Welfare challenge

Ryan is working towards Pro14 derbies resuming on 22 August under the latest draft schedule, although Welsh rugby has not yet resumed group training, unlike Italian clubs Zebre and Benetton.

“That looks the most feasible (date), I’d imagine behind closed doors, that links quite smoothly into next year without compromising it significantly,” said Ryan.

“But what (training) we’re able to do leading into that, is still up for discussion.

“It’s a huge challenge for everyone being able to guide people, and make sure you’re compliant with what the government direction is.

“At some stage we’re going to have to get back to training then play a strenuous contact sport, and we need to make sure we’ve got player welfare at the centre of how we get them across this period.”

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