DRAGONS head coach Bernard Jackman believes a “shared responsibility” between coaches and players has emerged at Rodney Parade since last season, when it was “probably a bit autocratic”.

Jackman, who took over 14 months ago, will know his honeymoon period is now well and truly over following a disastrous debut campaign that included just two PRO14 wins.

But with more of his squad experiencing life on the international stage, added to the region’s new signings, Jackman feels he has the quality to make collective accountability work.

“We’re in a highly competitive environment and pressure to perform is part of it,” he said.

“Maybe we had a little bit of leeway last year because of the fact it was a squad that hadn’t been successful in the past, but we certainly want to build a winning team as quickly as possible.

“I’m probably less strict than last year, not that we tolerate low standards, but it’s definitely got to be a shared journey between coaches and players.

“We’ve got the right people on the boat, now we’ve got to row that boat together.

“When you have a leadership group that has the quality we have now, it’s a lot easier to have that shared responsibility, whereas last year it was probably a bit autocratic to try and test people.

“But the people here now are 99% either those we’ve retained or recruited, so it’s different from that point of view.”

Speaking further about the impact of having more individuals with experience of the Test arena and top level European rugby, he added: “There’s definitely a different feel to the place.

“The development of players like Elliot Dee, Leon Brown and Aaron Wainwright, going from being regional players to internationals, has been huge.

“Hallam (Amos) has obviously got more caps, Cory Hill has kicked on again and the recruits we’ve made like Rhodri Williams, Richard Hibbard and Ross (Moriarty) give us a hell of a lot more experience, leadership and talent.

“My criticism or frustration was we didn’t have enough people who had been in international camps.

“Last year we had two international forwards, Ollie Griffiths who got capped in June, and Cory Hill, but now we’ve got nine.

“When we do our set-piece we’ve got a hell of a lot better rugby intelligence and understanding of what good looks like.

“That’s probably taken for granted at clubs with a bigger budget or more of a history, but we have that now so it’s a key component in being better.

“For Jacob (Botica) and Tiaan Loots, Arwel Robson and Taine Basham, they’ve got a lot better role models now because they’re rubbing shoulders with players who’ve done it over countless years in the Champions Cup or on the international stage worldwide.”