THE Dragons have appointed Ben Stirling from Warrington Wolves as their new head of physiotherapy and medical services, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade region advertised for the role in July and plumped for Stirling, who arrives with an impressive CV from rugby league.

The former UWIC student was head of physio for the Crusaders, Castleford and the Wales national team before heading to Warrington in 2012, eventually being promoted to head of performance at the Wire in 2015.

Stirling will be charged with overseeing the physio and medical care of the Dragons squad – and is faced by a mammoth injury list.

Head coach Bernard Jackman was without the services of 27 players, including academy prospects, in training last week ahead of the derby with Cardiff Blues.

The Irishman, who took the helm this summer, has made no secret of his desire to develop better athletes at their Ystrad Mynach training base, even if that leads to short-term pain.

“I don’t feel that the Dragons have done a good enough job developing our players athletically,” said Jackman as a guest on the Off The Ball programme in Ireland.

“Our new head of medical is head of performance at Warrington Wolves and he will give us some expertise in that.

“And also the week that we made 16 changes for Ulster, my first-choice team did eight gym sessions, two conditioning sessions, four skill sessions.”

“Our job this year is to develop the players athletically so that they are more robust,” he continued.

“I am not happy with the intensity that we’ve trained at [historically]. I am upping that and I know that there are going to be people breaking down.”

“We’ve just need to get through that because if I don’t do that for my good guys, my starting team, if they get the opportunity to play international rugby then they are going to be found wanting. Also, as a region it’s something that has to become part of our DNA.

“There’s short-term pain with that in terms of guys breaking down, we just need to make sure we rehab them well and when they come back that their load has been high enough and the intensity of rehab means they are no vulnerable to breaking down again.”