THE WELSH Rugby Union issued a statement today on the Dragons and the deal that has been struck for their future.

In it, it outlines the new involvement on Tony Brown and reads:

"A formal agreement has been reached with the administrator to secure the future of the Gwent Dragons.

"A deal has been struck between Newport RFC and the Welsh Rugby Union to form a new four-man board that will see ownership be split 50-50 between the two entities to form a new company, Dragons Rugby Ltd.

"As part of the deal, it has been agreed that Tony Brown will provide additional funds to the new regional team until the end of the 2005/6 season. In addition, Bisley Office Furniture will sponsor the team shirt for the coming season.

"The four nominated board members for Dragons Rugby Ltd will be Tony Brown and Martyn Hazell, representing Newport RFC, and David Pickering and Steve Lewis, representing the WRU. David Pickering will act as chairman.

"Given the difficult circumstances that have been experienced in the Gwent region this year, we feel this is the best possible deal to ensure the ongoing viability of the Dragons," said WRU general manager Steve Lewis.

"This is not a situation that was created by the Union, but one which we have inherited. We see ourselves acting as the trustee shareholders on theboard of Dragons Rugby Ltd for the rest of the rugby clubs in the region.

"Moreover, we intend to ensure that the best interests of the team and the game are served throughout the whole region.

"The team will be officially known as the Newport Gwent Dragons, but will be marketed as the Dragons.

"From next season on, neither the name Newport nor Gwent will appear on the team jersey, which will merely carry the club logo of the dragon's tail and the name 'Dragons'.

"All the contracts of the current players and team management will revert to the new company and everyone involved with the new board is totally committed to the regional rugby concept."