CORY Hill, Hallam Amos, Elliot Dee and Ross Moriarty finish their season in Argentina this evening but their Dragons teammates are already under way in their preparations for 2018/19.

The Rodney Parade region finished their Guinness PRO14 campaign with a deflating loss to the Scarlets at Principality Stadium on Saturday, April 28.

Five weeks later Bernard Jackman’s squad, minus their international contingent and a handful of new recruits, returned to be put through their paces in Ystrad Mynach.

That led to some eyebrows being raised – surely that is too soon to be back? – but plans have been carefully crafted with the aim of helping a new-look squad settle swiftly.

The Dragons are in on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays with a short and sharp session on Saturdays, often featuring wrestling.

South Wales Argus:

“We gave the guys five weeks off so that they got a decent rest of mind and body,” said head of strength and conditioning Ryan Harris, who has been with the Dragons since 2014 and previously worked with Wales Women and the international age-grade teams.

“We finished a little bit earlier than some other people, so we have come back in to get four weeks of decent gym work.

“What we also do is short and sharp, technical rugby sessions. It is no more than 35 to 40 minutes on feet, ironing out some terminology.

“We will do a lot of static-based skills and things to up the engine, but not stupid running volumes because we will ramp it up progressively.

“We’ve got two gym sessions a day – eight a week – and have brought in some different stuff like wresting and grappling to bring us a little closer to the game.

“It’s a really, really slow ramp-up and there are a lot of new faces, so there is a lot of team building stuff as well to break it down and have a bit of fun to get a cohesive group together.”

With 14 fresh recruits on the playing staff and a number of new faces on the management team, there is a lot to cover before the friendlies against Northampton, Ealing and Gloucester, then the big PRO14 kick-off.

Time is of the essence, so the likes of Ryan Bevington, Rhodri Williams, Jordan Williams and Aaron Jarvis are already in camp and getting to know their new colleagues.

South Wales Argus:

“We have a lot of things to cover off physically as well as tactically and technically,” said Harris (pictured above last season).

“Time is always an issue and they have had a decent break of five weeks, so we can break it down into three blocks.

“We have a four-week block, another week off, then three weeks and then we start our pre-season games in the third one. We have got 10 weeks of contact but it’s ramped accordingly and there is nothing stupid.”

What the squad are doing looks tortuous to the layman, but Harris is quick to stress that things will intensify as the weeks count down to the PRO14 opener. The squad are being worked hard but not overworked.

“We are here to assist them,” said the former flanker. “A player’s prized possessions is their body, that is their money-earner and we have to make sure we are covering everything that we can.

“It’s not a situation where we are pushing sessions just to make people sick or work hard. Yes, there will be sessions that test them physically and mentally, but it’s the other bits and bobs that give them more clarity as rugby players and physical specimens.”

l Rhys Thomas has been appointed as academy skills coach at Cardiff Blues.

As was reported in Tuesday’s Argus, the former Dragons captain left the same role with the Rodney Parade region at the end of last season.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the Dragons and can't thank them enough for the opportunity they gave me as a young coach," said the 36-year-old ex-Wales hooker.

"However, I knew that any opportunity to come back to the Cardiff Blues would be special, and an offer that I couldn't refuse.

"It's a club that is close to my heart, having been born and raised in the region and spent the majority of my playing career here. It feels like I'm coming home.

"The direction the club is heading towards is exciting, on the back of a hugely successful campaign, and I can't wait to work with the region's academy system, as there are some really promising talent coming through.

"As a coach, I'm still young and still learning, and am looking forward to working alongside talented coaches such as Duane Goodfield and Richie Rees, both of whom I know from my previous time here."