CHAIRMAN David Buttress says he was "brutally frank" about the challenges the Dragons face when he entered talks with new boss Dean Ryan.

The former England forward has been appointed as the replacement for Bernard Jackman, although he will have the title of director of rugby rather than head coach.

Buttress started the search for a new boss in December and after a "highly competitive and thorough process" has opted for a new management structure.

Ryan will be tasked with turning around the Dragons' fortunes on the field but the 52-year-old will also have a position on the board to influence other areas of the business.

Neither will be easy as 2015 was the last time that the region's supporters had to use their second hand to count the number of league victories while the organisation also operates with the smallest budget of all the Welsh teams, a situation that had led to a meagre recruitment drive for next season.

South Wales Argus:

"Dean and I have had numerous very blunt and honest conversations about how challenging this will be," said Buttress.

"Our conversations always went very quickly and whenever they finished I left feeling super excited about what we could do.

"Part of having a good process is being honest on both sides. I was brutally frank about the challenges that we face because in order for Dean to make the right decision he needed to hear exactly what the world looked like.

"In terms of where we are at as a club and where we are at financially, Dean knows specifically everything around this. Dean is not afraid of a challenge, neither am I."

Former Lions coach Graham Rowntree, currently working with Georgia ahead of the World Cup, was also in the running for the job but Buttress opted to go for a more wide-ranging role than simply a head coach.

"I was open-minded from the start, we met an array of candidates and had over 30 really credible applicants," said the chairman.

"I was pragmatic because from the final shortlist there were different ways of doing it, head coach, director of rugby etcetera.

"I was more focused on getting somebody in with experience of building successful rugby teams but also had genuine experience of helping off the field to build a rugby operation.

"We need both at the Dragons and it was really fortunate that when we met Dean it became clear that he had both."

As reported by the Argus in March

, Buttress is trying to return the Dragons to private ownership with the Welsh Rugby Union taking a back seat.

However, the chairman enlisted the help of the WRU's performance director – a three-time Grand Slam winner from Bassaleg – in the hunt for a new coach.

"It's the first time that I have done this process so I was probably a little bit too cautions, but maybe that's not a bad thing," said Buttress.

"I wanted to be thorough and I had a lot of meetings, I involved Ryan Jones heavily and he was super helpful, especially on the rugby side of things.

"I am glad that we were thorough, because it's important to get this appointment right."

And Buttress is aware that the no-nonsense Ryan is sure to put the pressure on his boardroom colleagues to help him deliver the goods on the pitch.

"Dean and I have a clear understanding that this is going to take a very long-term partnership and commitment on both sides," he said.

"I am going to have to deliver some very important stuff – for this to work on the field I am going to have to do a good job off the field, otherwise there is no good me holding Dean to account."