HOOKER Richard Hibbard says the Dragons players “can’t wait any longer” for a decision to be made on the region’s head coach job.

Ceri Jones has been in the Rodney Parade hotseat on an interim basis since Bernard Jackman’s departure last December.

Former Wales prop Jones has stated that he would like to take charge permanently, with the identity of the man to lead the Dragons into next season expected in the not too distant future.

Whoever it is will be fully aware of the huge task on their hands following another disappointing campaign for the Men of Gwent in all competitions.

Jones, Hibbard and the rest of the squad end their PRO14 fixtures against the Scarlets in the first of a Judgement Day double-header at Principality Stadium.

That same night, a week on Saturday, Abertillery MMA star Jack Shore will look to make a successful first defence of his Cage Warriors world bantamweight title just down the road in Cardiff Bay.

Shore took part in a workout alongside the Dragons yesterday, and MMA fan Hibbard was impressed with what he saw.

The front-rower doesn’t think a Dragons-Shore win double would be a bad bet for April 27, but he’s also eager to see his region’s hierarchy make a decision on Jackman’s permanent successor soon.

“Once the head coach comes in and we’ve got a plan then we’ve got something we can stick to,” he said.

“Ultimately, the decision has got to be made and we’ve got to know because we can’t wait any longer.

“Everything has got to be sorted and when we come back in for pre-season we know exactly what we’re doing. I don’t want another season like this season.”

He continued: “Mentally, this has been one of my toughest seasons.

“It’s not for a lack of effort from the boys, it’s the constant knocks and situations to deal with.

“It has been an adjustment coming back into Wales, and frustrating more than anything because I know this squad is better.

“I believe we’ve got some very good players and we’re not producing what we should be.”

The Dragons are on course to finish bottom of Conference B, but Hibbard is confident the team can end the term on a high by seeing off the Scarlets.

“Judgement Day is huge for us because we want to get a win and finish the season strongly,” he said.

“I definitely think we can turn it around against the Scarlets.

“We’ve been in games for 60 minutes for the last season and we’re not quite going the full 80. It’s disappointing, but it has been our own doing.

“It’s down to us and winning breeds winning, and what we really need is a couple of wins back-to-back.

“Anybody can win on one day and then lose the next three, so it’s about winning consistently, and until we do that we’re not going to get any better.”

And as for the chances of him turning to MMA when his playing days are over, he joked: “I’d be good for about 30 seconds!

“I do appreciate the sport. I watch it when it’s on, but it’s too mental for me, I can’t get my head around it.

“Maybe I’d have tried it in my younger days, when I thought I was tough.”

Hibbard is much more likely to be a barista than a brawler when he retires, with the Wales international branching out by opening a café in Port Talbot next week.

* Shore’s fellow Gwent stars Cory McKenna, Mason Jones, Josh Reed and Kris Edwards will also feature on the bill at Cage Warriors 104 next Saturday in Cardiff. Tickets are available from www.cagewarriors.com