DRAGONS chief Dean Ryan insists “efforts to sanitise” rugby by installing wholly artificial pitches “don’t impress me”, as the region considers upgrading the troubled Rodney Parade playing surface.

Major work was last done on the pitch when the WRU installed a new hybrid surface – a mixture of grass and synthetic fibres – after its takeover of the Dragons in June 2017, claiming then that “flooding will be a thing of the past”.

Nearly three years since that £750,000 revamp, Dragons director of rugby Ryan and his fellow board members are set for talks over finding a more longer-term solution to the current problems.

Those were clear to see when Ryan’s men hosted the Cheetahs last Saturday, with the recent bad weather and strain of having three sports teams – Newport County AFC and Newport RFC the others – playing on it taking its toll.

It is understood the Dragons hierarchy will discuss the possibility of laying the same sort of hybrid pitch used by football clubs including Swansea City.

Ryan, who was in charge at Worcester Warriors when they switched from traditional grass to a synthetic surface, says he has no time for completely artificial – some label them plastic – pitches like Cardiff Arms Park.

“I don’t believe that artificial surfaces are the way forward for rugby,” he said. “There are a lot better surfaces between those two (extremes).

“I’m not a fan of playing on artificial surfaces.

"In 10 years’ time we might be looking back and saying, ‘why did we go down that (route)?’

“There was a significant fallout with myself and Worcester when they implemented a pitch which I just don’t believe in.

“I believe the game is as much about the challenges on when we play the game as anything else.

"Further efforts to sanitise it don’t impress me.

“I recognise the sport needs to move on with technology, but I don’t believe it’s via artificial pitches.”

He added: “I know the board are very keen to look at the options about how to develop and look at renewing support of the pitch. I know it’s a topic of discussion.”

Newport County AFC are not allowed to play on a wholly artificial pitch under the rules laid out by the Football League.

Ryan’s charges, like the Exiles and Black and Ambers, have had to get used to playing on a deteriorating surface this winter, and the Dragons supremo hopes a remedy isn’t too far away.

“We’ve won some games because we’ve been smarter than other people," he said.

“We’d prefer if it wasn’t because of a poor surface, but weather is part of the demands of the game, especially the club game because it’s not sanitised through stadiums.

“We’re probably at the top of our learning in poor conditions. I would definitely prefer to see some light at the end of the tunnel."