WELSH Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies says the Dragons have sorted out their infrastructure – but has told them they must deliver on the field in the coming season.

The Rodney Parade region were taken over by the governing body last summer but endured a tough first year under WRU ownership.

The Dragons managed just two wins in the Guinness PRO14 – a record low – and only the Southern Kings endured a worse season.

However, strides were made off the field with head coach Bernard Jackman coming in, reshaping his backroom staff and having a busy recruitment drive while chairman David Buttress was appointed, established a new board and shook up the commercial team.

Davies, who was chief executive at Rodney Parade before taking up his role at Principality Stadium, believes progress has been made but has hammered home the need for on-field improvement.

"It was a tough year but I don't think anybody expected anything else because it was the same squad," said the former Wales and Lions fly-half.

"This year will be the big test and they have been able to recruit; there hasn't been a huge chequebook but they have recruited smartly with a couple of big names and a couple of guys returning like Rhodri Williams and Jordan Williams.

"It could be an interesting year but of course everybody else is stepping up as well, it's not just the Dragons stepping up.

"Having sat down with them, and all the regions over the past couple of months, [and talked about] what they want to achieve, they want to win more games and succeed in the Challenge Cup. This is their first real test.

"They have put a strong board in place, and that needs to start working commercially, they have got the infrastructure in a better place but it's got to happen on the field as well and it's a big year for Bernard."

The WRU took over the Dragons and bought Rodney Parade from Newport RFC last year after the region failed to secure outside investment.

They paid £2.85million for the nine-acre site – the published £3.75million sale figure included an existing £900,000 – and Davies said the purchase was necessary.

"It was something that we had to do so that we kept four professional entities," he said. "We need four, Scotland are looking for others and for us to go the other way would have been putting up a white flag."

The WRU and the Dragons, Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues are nearing a new deal to replace the Rugby Services Agreement, which expires in 2020.

Davies was on the other side of the fence when the last accord was negotiated and believes the WRU-regional relationship has improved dramatically with all five entities working together.

"The previous deal was to hammer people, to control people totally," he said to WalesOnline.

"We are moving away from the master-pupil relationship. We are all in this together.

"We don't know any better than the regions, the regions don't know any better than us. We are trying to work as a team. This is how we behave."