Former Wales and Scarlets prop set to coach Dragons forwards, but skills coach Connor leaves

South Wales Argus: EXPERIENCED: Iestyn Thomas in action for Wales EXPERIENCED: Iestyn Thomas in action for Wales

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are poised to appoint former Wales prop Iestyn Thomas as their forwards coach but another member of the backroom staff has headed for the exit.

The Argus understands that the Dragons have turned to former Pontypool and Ebbw Vale loosehead Thomas to replace Danny Wilson, who left the region earlier this month to join the Scarlets.

Thomas, 35, will head in the opposite direction to his native Gwent after retiring in April because of a neck injury.

Improving the set piece was the first requirement when the Rodney Parade region started their search for Wilson’s successor and 33-times capped Thomas will certainly command respect in that department.

He also expressed a desire to pass on his knowledge of the dark arts when he announced his retirement last month.

He said: “I enjoy mentoring younger players. It’s funny because up until now I haven’t been able to teach people much – in my position you never want to give your secrets away.

“But I’d happily pass those secrets on to any young prop who would be willing to listen to me.”

The Dragons have a policy of not commenting on links with players or coaches until deals are complete, but the deal could be rubber-stamped within days.

Meanwhile, skills coach Shaun Connor has left the region to take up the same role with the Welsh Rugby Union based at the Ospreys Academy.

The 36-year-old former fly-half, who also coached Pontypool last season, will do the same job as that carried out by ex-Wales international Byron Hayward in Gwent.

“I’ve loved my four years – two as a player, two as a coach – with the Dragons,” said Blaina-born Connor, who was man of the match when the Ospreys beat Australia A in 2006.

“It was a tough decision to leave but I feel this is the best move for me in terms of my development as a coach.

“(Dragons director of rugby) Rob Beale was superb with me, understood the situation and agreed to release me from my contract a year early.

“I’m looking forward to it but I will remember some great times coaching with both the Dragons and Ponty-pool.”

It’s unlikely that there will be a like-for-like replacement for Connor with head of conditioning Alex Lawson, a former Newport fly-half, able to offer kicking advice and the possibility of enlisting the help of Hayward.

Comments (22)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:14am Wed 23 May 12

SizzlerTrainers says...

I didn't know Iestyn had any coaching experience?
I didn't know Iestyn had any coaching experience? SizzlerTrainers
  • Score: 0

9:40am Wed 23 May 12

Dai Trying says...

I didn't know that Lawson had any either. Make do and mend again next season, some things never change. Will some one at The Dragons please pull their finger out, they are becoming a laughing stock.
I didn't know that Lawson had any either. Make do and mend again next season, some things never change. Will some one at The Dragons please pull their finger out, they are becoming a laughing stock. Dai Trying
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Wed 23 May 12

Dai the Milk says...

Iestyn is a hugely knowledgeable and experienced prop forward with a wonderful way of putting things across. Moreover, he is bang in touch with the modern game and all the niceties of front row play. A fantastic capture. You just can't please some people, especially the ignorant ones who know jack s*** about the game.
Iestyn is a hugely knowledgeable and experienced prop forward with a wonderful way of putting things across. Moreover, he is bang in touch with the modern game and all the niceties of front row play. A fantastic capture. You just can't please some people, especially the ignorant ones who know jack s*** about the game. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Wed 23 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Well said Dai. He comes with a lot of recent experience and hopefully a lot to give. Just a point I didn't know it was a requirement to advertise that anyone has qualified as a coach but he obviously is as are quite a lot of rugby players coming to the end of thier playing days, it's called progression.
Well said Dai. He comes with a lot of recent experience and hopefully a lot to give. Just a point I didn't know it was a requirement to advertise that anyone has qualified as a coach but he obviously is as are quite a lot of rugby players coming to the end of thier playing days, it's called progression. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Wed 23 May 12

therugbybrain says...

What a joke Jobs for the boys again What does Iestyn know about coaching so people might have respect for him as a player but he should drop down the leagues and learn all about coaching. What about the coaches in the premiership who need the next step.
What a joke Jobs for the boys again What does Iestyn know about coaching so people might have respect for him as a player but he should drop down the leagues and learn all about coaching. What about the coaches in the premiership who need the next step. therugbybrain
  • Score: 0

3:32pm Wed 23 May 12

SizzlerTrainers says...

Coaching is like teaching, you can know everything there is to know about your specialist subject, but imparting that knowledge successfully is not as easy as people seem to think.
Coaching is like teaching, you can know everything there is to know about your specialist subject, but imparting that knowledge successfully is not as easy as people seem to think. SizzlerTrainers
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Wed 23 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Just hang about a bit, he has been at the regional level for a long time and has learned the art of coaching from some very experienced coaches. He may not be that well know as a coach but he is very experienced and I don't think there are many coaches at the Premiership level who can stand up against the requirements of Regional rugby, certainly not from Newport or any other Gwent club anyway.
Just hang about a bit, he has been at the regional level for a long time and has learned the art of coaching from some very experienced coaches. He may not be that well know as a coach but he is very experienced and I don't think there are many coaches at the Premiership level who can stand up against the requirements of Regional rugby, certainly not from Newport or any other Gwent club anyway. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

7:55pm Wed 23 May 12

celticbhoy says...

On a broader coaching issue.
3 weeks ago Darren Edwards was of the view that the team required an experienced outside half
2 weeks ago Neil Jenkins WRU disageed.
This week Darren Edwards agrees with Neil Jenkins.
Conclusion ???
Thankfully I shall not be present next season to witness anymore humiliating defeats such as against Connaught and Leinster seconds
On a broader coaching issue. 3 weeks ago Darren Edwards was of the view that the team required an experienced outside half 2 weeks ago Neil Jenkins WRU disageed. This week Darren Edwards agrees with Neil Jenkins. Conclusion ??? Thankfully I shall not be present next season to witness anymore humiliating defeats such as against Connaught and Leinster seconds celticbhoy
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Wed 23 May 12

ljg says...

celticbhoy wrote:
On a broader coaching issue. 3 weeks ago Darren Edwards was of the view that the team required an experienced outside half 2 weeks ago Neil Jenkins WRU disageed. This week Darren Edwards agrees with Neil Jenkins. Conclusion ??? Thankfully I shall not be present next season to witness anymore humiliating defeats such as against Connaught and Leinster seconds
it does make you wonder what the heck is happening over at Rodney Parade,
[quote][p][bold]celticbhoy[/bold] wrote: On a broader coaching issue. 3 weeks ago Darren Edwards was of the view that the team required an experienced outside half 2 weeks ago Neil Jenkins WRU disageed. This week Darren Edwards agrees with Neil Jenkins. Conclusion ??? Thankfully I shall not be present next season to witness anymore humiliating defeats such as against Connaught and Leinster seconds[/p][/quote]it does make you wonder what the heck is happening over at Rodney Parade, ljg
  • Score: 0

10:17am Thu 24 May 12

East Newport Dave says...

Sorry to be positive for once but I just think that Iestyn has been at the coalface for a long time, and no one can deny that he was a scrummager. On that basis he will know the dynamics of the modern scrum.
On the negative side, Edwards is hung in there like a limpet, and without a high calibre leader at the helm, Iestyn will be up against it. Agreed Iestyn does not appear to have any coaching experience but let's see what he can do. Whatever happens this season, last season was a complete shambles. In the light of recent player departures and no change to the coaching management, any improvement on last season will be a bonus (I was going to say 'miracle').
Sorry to be positive for once but I just think that Iestyn has been at the coalface for a long time, and no one can deny that he was a scrummager. On that basis he will know the dynamics of the modern scrum. On the negative side, Edwards is hung in there like a limpet, and without a high calibre leader at the helm, Iestyn will be up against it. Agreed Iestyn does not appear to have any coaching experience but let's see what he can do. Whatever happens this season, last season was a complete shambles. In the light of recent player departures and no change to the coaching management, any improvement on last season will be a bonus (I was going to say 'miracle'). East Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Thu 24 May 12

therugbybrain says...

Ok why not give Lloyd Burns the coaching role hes been in the welsh enviroment lately more than you can say for Iestyn.
Ok why not give Lloyd Burns the coaching role hes been in the welsh enviroment lately more than you can say for Iestyn. therugbybrain
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Thu 24 May 12

NakedDancer says...

I don't know if Iestyn has completed any coach education and practised coaching at some level...but rugby and football must be the only sports where it is assumed that if you have played the game you can coach it. Both sports are littered with ex pros that have failed as coaches.
I don't know if Iestyn has completed any coach education and practised coaching at some level...but rugby and football must be the only sports where it is assumed that if you have played the game you can coach it. Both sports are littered with ex pros that have failed as coaches. NakedDancer
  • Score: 0

2:19pm Thu 24 May 12

goggerboy says...

There's a "Ferris"coach been stood idle in the B&Q car park in Cwmbran for the past few days.Could be another option!
On a slightly more serious note,what about Alan(Benny) Williams? he has all the coaching qualifications and front row nous.Could also be a good option for Newport.
There's a "Ferris"coach been stood idle in the B&Q car park in Cwmbran for the past few days.Could be another option! On a slightly more serious note,what about Alan(Benny) Williams? he has all the coaching qualifications and front row nous.Could also be a good option for Newport. goggerboy
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Thu 24 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

I believe there are minimum standards that anyone going into coaching must have before they can be employed as a coach. I'm sure that Iestyn holds those badges and has had some experience at coaching sides in west Wales, they may not be that well known but I'm sure they exist. Give the guy a chance and dont write him off before the season even starts, typical of many townies i'm afraid.
I believe there are minimum standards that anyone going into coaching must have before they can be employed as a coach. I'm sure that Iestyn holds those badges and has had some experience at coaching sides in west Wales, they may not be that well known but I'm sure they exist. Give the guy a chance and dont write him off before the season even starts, typical of many townies i'm afraid. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Thu 24 May 12

Doberman1 says...

It's all window dressing compared to the main coaching issue which remains the future of DE. After such a shambles of a season on and off the pitch what the real fans want to see is a head coach who can motivate, coach and instill a winning team mentality into a squad of limited ability. DE has time and time again shown a stubborn refusal to put the MacBook down and get pitch side to at least look like he cares and is more than a WRU puppet. He simply must be replaced.
It's all window dressing compared to the main coaching issue which remains the future of DE. After such a shambles of a season on and off the pitch what the real fans want to see is a head coach who can motivate, coach and instill a winning team mentality into a squad of limited ability. DE has time and time again shown a stubborn refusal to put the MacBook down and get pitch side to at least look like he cares and is more than a WRU puppet. He simply must be replaced. Doberman1
  • Score: 0

9:18am Fri 25 May 12

the-dragons says...

Why wasn't there any fuss when the dragons appointed Colin charvis in the past
Why wasn't there any fuss when the dragons appointed Colin charvis in the past the-dragons
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Fri 25 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Colin Charvis had his coaching badges so it was a natural follow on for him, pity he didn't keep it going but travelling from Swansea every day without his driving license was both hard and expensive and he failed to deliver on attending let alone coaching, but that's history now and Colin is doing OK. The new situation is current and future so why knock it before he even puts pen to paper. As I said typical Townie attitude.
Colin Charvis had his coaching badges so it was a natural follow on for him, pity he didn't keep it going but travelling from Swansea every day without his driving license was both hard and expensive and he failed to deliver on attending let alone coaching, but that's history now and Colin is doing OK. The new situation is current and future so why knock it before he even puts pen to paper. As I said typical Townie attitude. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

5:35pm Fri 25 May 12

DPJ says...

Everyone is talking about the appointment of a forward coach, but appear to forget a very good backs coach has left to join the Ospreys
Everyone is talking about the appointment of a forward coach, but appear to forget a very good backs coach has left to join the Ospreys DPJ
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Fri 25 May 12

Amber in the blood says...

Did anyone watch the Dragons last season ? Good backs coach !!!! Did we have a forward coach ? Good luck to Iestyn Thomas if appointed forward coach.
Did anyone watch the Dragons last season ? Good backs coach !!!! Did we have a forward coach ? Good luck to Iestyn Thomas if appointed forward coach. Amber in the blood
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Fri 25 May 12

Raging Bull says...

Perhaps the dragons who are strapped for cash should look to promote from within the region.Surely they do not have to be told .The youngsters they are so pleased with were played through desperation not any brilliant decision making.Open your eyes !
Perhaps the dragons who are strapped for cash should look to promote from within the region.Surely they do not have to be told .The youngsters they are so pleased with were played through desperation not any brilliant decision making.Open your eyes ! Raging Bull
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Sat 26 May 12

NakedDancer says...

Robert Shillabeer wrote:
Colin Charvis had his coaching badges so it was a natural follow on for him, pity he didn't keep it going but travelling from Swansea every day without his driving license was both hard and expensive and he failed to deliver on attending let alone coaching, but that's history now and Colin is doing OK. The new situation is current and future so why knock it before he even puts pen to paper. As I said typical Townie attitude.
Ok, you've tried twice so I'll bite....Watch that low ceiling in your cave or you'll knock the chip off your shoulder.

I'm not sure how you worked out contibutors are Townies (presumably thats Newport) or even what attitude you mean. I'm not from or in a town and, like many, I'd like to see my season ticket money spent on coaches that have been trained as coaches and gained some experience coaching at some relevant level. Hopefully Iestyn has done that.
[quote][p][bold]Robert Shillabeer[/bold] wrote: Colin Charvis had his coaching badges so it was a natural follow on for him, pity he didn't keep it going but travelling from Swansea every day without his driving license was both hard and expensive and he failed to deliver on attending let alone coaching, but that's history now and Colin is doing OK. The new situation is current and future so why knock it before he even puts pen to paper. As I said typical Townie attitude.[/p][/quote]Ok, you've tried twice so I'll bite....Watch that low ceiling in your cave or you'll knock the chip off your shoulder. I'm not sure how you worked out contibutors are Townies (presumably thats Newport) or even what attitude you mean. I'm not from or in a town and, like many, I'd like to see my season ticket money spent on coaches that have been trained as coaches and gained some experience coaching at some relevant level. Hopefully Iestyn has done that. NakedDancer
  • Score: 0

10:38pm Sat 26 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Nakedancer, don't live in a cave and don't have to worry about the height as I'm not that tall, but thanks for the warning. Iestyn Thomas is very experienced and probably a qualified coach. I agree that our season ticket money will be spent wisely and provide us with a good return in the form of wins and good performances. The Argus is a Newport paper and always concentrates very much on Newport with occasional coverage of the rest of the old Gwent area. I have renewed my season for both the Dragons and Newport which I have done for quite a few years now, hope more will do it so we can be strong next season.
Nakedancer, don't live in a cave and don't have to worry about the height as I'm not that tall, but thanks for the warning. Iestyn Thomas is very experienced and probably a qualified coach. I agree that our season ticket money will be spent wisely and provide us with a good return in the form of wins and good performances. The Argus is a Newport paper and always concentrates very much on Newport with occasional coverage of the rest of the old Gwent area. I have renewed my season for both the Dragons and Newport which I have done for quite a few years now, hope more will do it so we can be strong next season. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree