BERNARD Jackman has expressed his disappointment that the Dragons were priced out of a move for Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards.

The head coach had lined up the rugby league legend for a consultancy role, working alongside current defence chief Hendre Marnitz.

Wales boss Warren Gatland said in the summer that he expected Edwards to work with the Ospreys and the Dragons in the coming season but he will now work exclusively with the Liberty Stadium side.

That is down to budget with Jackman having nothing left in the pot to add the experience of Edwards, who had a consultancy role with Cardiff Blues last season and will become Wigan’s head coach after next year’s World Cup.

“We want to provide the best possible environment for our players,” said Jackman. “We have a lot of really good young Welsh players and want to give them access to the best coaches.

“We think Shaun Edwards is the best defence coach in the world, as I am sure the Ospreys do and Wales do.

“It would have been great for us to have him but we just don’t have the luxury or flexibility of budgets that other teams have.

“We will work hard as a coaching staff and have a really good defensive leadership group who help us drive things.

“It’s hard to say having shipped 42 points [against Northampton in pre-season] but I think defensively we were decent in terms of phase defence – they had two intercepts and had us at the driving maul.

“We are happy that our defence is improving and all we can do now is kick on and look after ourselves.”

Marnitz joined the Dragons last summer but the region had the second worst defensive record in the Guinness PRO14, shipping 672 points and 94 tries in 21 games.

The South African did, however, have to work with an inexperienced side courtesy of Jackman’s decision to give youth a chance in his first year.

The boss is backing the defence coach to make a bigger impact in 2018/19.

“Hendre was very happy with the idea of Shaun coming in,” said Jackman. “We all want to get better as coaches and give the players the best possible environment.

“Hendre has been driving it since day one, because we weren’t sure about Shaun and now obviously he’s not coming, so he will crack on and make us better.

“He will have experienced players and settled combinations. It was very difficult for him last year with so many youngsters making their debuts and players who weren’t staying.

“There’s a real buy-in to our defence this year and people like Tyler Morgan, Ollie Griffiths, Richard Hibbard, Hallam Amos, Brandon Nansen and Jack Dixon, who are our defensive leadership group, are really driving that and we are on the right track.”