WHEN Gordon Ross agreed to join the Dragons last summer the former Scotland fly-half couldn’t have envisioned being in the hotseat in just his seventh game.

A week after being backs coach against Ulster, the 42-year-old was calling the shots against Munster.

A member of Dean Ryan’s management team tested positive for coronavirus last Tuesday, meaning that the director of rugby and all coaches who came into close contact with the individual in Belfast had to go into self-isolation.

That led to a rapid promotion for Ross, who from Wednesday morning had a new role as stand-in boss.

The Scot worked with Worcester’s academy last season but was suddenly leading the preparations for a Guinness PRO14 clash with unbeaten Munster.

Ross said: “I spoke to an ex-colleague on Friday and we had a giggle because this time last year I was preparing an under-18s team for a friendly against Bristol!

“It’s a bit different but the structures that Dean has put in place to allow people to develop are great.

“You learn from him and the things that he does really well, but at the same time you want to put your own stamp on it.

“Dean is very good at giving coaching opportunities for us to lead training during the week. That’s where he is an excellent director of rugby, because he wants coaches to improve and get better.”

South Wales Argus: DEPUTY: Gordon Ross is leading the DragonsDEPUTY: Gordon Ross is leading the Dragons

The head honcho was also a part of matchday, albeit from his home in Cheltenham rather than on the gantry in Newport.

“I think that Dean had to recharge the battery on his phone about 10 times! Dean has an outstanding rugby brain and we would be daft not to take his advice on,” said Ross, who won 25 caps and played at the 2003 World Cup.

“He got a few key messages over in the first half and the same in the second. I am sure it will be no different this week with Zoom meetings every morning and evening; we are keeping in touch.”

After being outmuscled in Belfast the Dragons put in a much-improved display against Munster, albeit they didn’t have anything to show for their efforts in a 28-16 loss.

Ryan, forwards coaches Mefin Davies and Luke Narraway and defence coach Simon Cross will remain in isolation this week.

That means Ross, skills coach Barry Maddocks, rugby general manager James Chapron, academy duo Sam Hobbs and Matt O’Brien and fitness coach Dan Baugh will once again take charge of the preparations for a clash with an Irish province on Saturday.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity for me over the last few days and hopefully I can improve again ahead of Connacht, and we have some really good people in place and that helps make the job a little bit easier,” said Ross.

South Wales Argus:

“It was a pretty mad week. We found out on Wednesday morning that staff would be away, then on Wednesday afternoon we had a second team game as well (against Cardiff Blues).

“It was a busy week and pretty much hands-on all week. It was nice to be able to switch off for a few hours on Saturday to watch the Wales-Scotland game.

“It’s been really, really tough at times but the effort from the coaching staff and the squad in Ystrad Mynach was outstanding.

“Everybody has been chipping in and guys have been doing other people’s jobs to the best of their ability.

“The boys responded really well and the challenge is to do it again in the coming week and be better, both as coaches and players.

“We enjoyed last week, it was good fun and a learning experience for us, so hopefully as coaches we will develop from that.”