NEW boss Dean Ryan wants his Dragons to get their hands dirty, demanding hard graft to go along with the "sparkly stuff".

The director of rugby will take charge of his first competitive game when the region open up at Munster in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday.

Ryan was brought in as Bernard Jackman's successor over the summer and is charged with slowly but steadily improving the Dragons' fortunes after years of misery.

The former England forward believes that all starts with a foundation of good, honest work and plenty of players that are happy to be piano shifters.

South Wales Argus:

"We are getting better at understanding that good isn't always some sparkly stuff, it's some of the work that underpins that," said Ryan.

"Joe Davies has been great at that in pre-season, so has Huw Taylor, Lewis Evans came in (against the Scarlets) and put a shift in.

"I don't think that in the past we have recognised work as much as we need to. This (change) has allowed people to be at the top of the class that haven't traditionally had the perceived skill set.

"Work is something that we want to value. In any side you need people who can score from nothing, but they are genuinely underpinned by someone who works harder than anyone else, it's a combination.

"In our search for good we have probably just shone a light of people who can do some special things and we want to spread that light around and recognise the value in work.

"If people come and watch us then I want them to see that we work hard. Against the Scarlets we played a game that we wanted to, but we also worked really hard."

One player who certainly has the ability to do special things is fly-half Sam Davies, the Dragons' marquee summer signing from the Ospreys.

He will pull the strings at Thomond Park with Ryan keen to help the 25-year-old force his way back into the Wales set-up.

South Wales Argus:

"I've been blown away by how smart Sam is," said the director of rugby. "I struggle to know why he is not in the international squad and I see it as my responsibility to create an environment to keep him getting better, because he sees the game faster than I do.

"I think that I can help him in terms of how to manage other people and get the best out of them, but ultimately he has so much to offer Wales and the game.

"The opportunity to really define a team sometimes comes along in your career. Sometimes when you are developed through a club then you are always a product of it and never really get the opportunity or recognition that you are now the defining person.

"Sometimes you have to move to be that defining person and this is an opportunity for Sam, although it's not all about him.

"But if you play 10 then there is definitely going to be a focus on you and what I have found is that Sam is someone who relishes that."