FORMER Dragons boss Lyn Jones believes Bernard Jackman is facing the same problems that ended his Rodney Parade reign – and has urged the hierarchy to hold their nerve.

The former Wales flanker joined the region in 2013 and left his role as director of rugby in 2016.

Jones, the most successful coach in the regional rugby era after winning two titles and the Anglo-Welsh Cup at the Ospreys, led the Dragons to a pair of ninth-placed finishes (seven wins, then eight wins) and twice guided the club to the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup.

His final season at the helm, that was completed by successor Kingsley Jones, featured just four victories as the Dragons finished 10th.

The region was taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union in the summer of 2017 but head coach Jackman endured a tough first campaign in the hotseat and supporters are still waiting for an upturn in fortunes.

Jones, who faced the Dragons as boss of Russia last Friday, has urged patience.

"There is no easy answer, it's a business that has been run down over nearly two decades," said the 54-year-old.

"I've read a lot of what Bernard has said in the papers and a lot of it I agree with, it's no different to what I tried and I know I was on the right road but people on the board at the time had different pressures upon them.

"As long as the plan is good and true, you just need to stick at it and keep working.

"When I walked into the Dragons there was no academy-senior team relationship. We had to develop that and Elliot Dee came through from it, James Benjamin, Joe Davies, Leon Brown, Tyler Morgan… there is a whole array of guys.

"It's just an ongoing process which doesn't resolve itself overnight. You need to create a good club and a happy environment, then it will come.

"It's not easy and I know that because I have been there and I thought I was on the right road, and I was on the right road but the board didn't know their stuff.

"Fortunately Gwent doesn't now have that Achilles heel of a board that doesn't understand and hopefully everybody can bond together, gel and work for the common good."

Jackman has got greater resources at his disposal that any of his predecessors but Jones says the gulf to rivals still means there is an overreliance on bright prospects.

"When I was in Gwent the playing budget was £2.9million and I think that it's between £3.5million and £4million now, but that's still a country mile away from being able to have depth," said Jones.

"It's about having that group between 26 and 30 years of age, who are experienced campaigners, along with the youth.

"You need the business to be aligned and everybody needs to be buying in to the vision and understanding it is the right way. I've no doubt that the plan is correct but it's down to time, investment and patience.

"Truth is that regional rugby was started in 2003 for a variety of reasons, one was to be competitive with the French and English clubs in European competition but also to produce bigger and better players for Wales to go on and win trophies.

"The game against Tonga (with six Dragons selected in the 23) is testament to the good that is going on in Gwent."