THE Dragons are set to pit their wits against old boss Mike Ruddock at Rodney Parade at the start of next year after the former Wales coach joined the Ospreys.

The 60-year-old from Blaina has been appointed as a consultant at the Liberty Stadium to review rugby operations and "offer support and advice" to the coaching team.

Head coach Allen Clarke is no longer in charge of rugby matters at the Ospreys after a sluggish start to the season, hindered by World Cup call-ups and injury misfortune.

His assistants Matt Sherratt and Carl Hogg are holding the reins and will be able to pick the brains of Ruddock.

South Wales Argus:

The Ospreys have announced that the former back row forward will be with them for a month but his club Lansdowne RFC in Dublin, who have agreed to his temporary release, say it "may turn into a longer commitment".

Ruddock has linked up with the region ahead of the European Champions Cup double-header against Racing 92 and the Guinness PRO14 festive derbies.

The Ospreys entertain Cardiff Blues, travel to the Scarlets and then head to Rodney Parade on Saturday, January 4.

"We are delighted to have Mike join us for a month," Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward said.

"The coaches and players have all welcomed the decision to draft him in to offer his support and having him play a key role in our review of our rugby operations."

South Wales Argus:

Ruddock coached Ebbw Vale between 2000 and 2003 before a season at the helm with the Dragons after the introduction of regional rugby.

The Dragons, then with Newport and Gwent in their name, were in with a shot at the title heading into the final round of the Celtic League but ended up finishing third. It remains their finest season.

Ruddock's exploits at Rodney Parade earned a shot with Wales as successor to Steve Hansen.

He won the Grand Slam at his first attempt in 2005 – Wales' first clean sweep in 27 years – but left his job the following year.

Ruddock, whose son Rhys plays for Leinster and Ireland, was in charge of Worcester Warriors from 2007 to 2010 before heading to Ireland with his Irish wife Bernadette and coaching the national under-20s side and Lansdowne in Dublin.

His arrival at the Liberty Stadium provides the region with a lift after a deflating start to the campaign.

They have won just one of seven league fixtures and were edged out by the Cheetahs at the Gnoll last Saturday when controversially denied at the death as they drove towards the line with a maul.

The Ospreys qualified for the Champions Cup last season but sit sixth in Conference A of the PRO14, two points behind the Dragons and level on points with bottom club Zebre.

The strugglers as set to be boosted by the return of Wales stars Alun Wyn Jones and George North over the festive period after they returned from the World Cup with groin and hamstring injuries respectively.