CHAIRMAN David Buttress says the Dragons know "roughly" what their budget is for next season – and that there is room for a couple more signings.

The Rodney Parade region's business has predominantly been retention with Wales lock Will Rowlands their solitary new recruit for next season.

The Dragons have lost the services of a trio of stalwarts in lock Matthew Screech (Cardiff), back row forward Lewis Evans (retirement) and prop Brok Harris.

The South African front rower decided to head back to South Africa after not receiving a contract offer, a situation that director of rugby Dean Ryan said was not helped by a lack of clarity over funding from the Welsh Rugby Union.

Talks continue between the governing body and the Dragons, Cardiff, Ospreys and Scarlets over the exact figures they will receive.

"I think we've navigated it as well as we could have," said Buttress, who is also negotiating with the WRU over taking the region back into private ownership.

"Plus-minus, we know roughly where we are. There is some further clarity to come but we are getting pretty close."

South Wales Argus: SIGNING: Wales lock Will Rowlands is heading for the Dragons from WaspsSIGNING: Wales lock Will Rowlands is heading for the Dragons from Wasps

And Buttress says that Ryan will have the green light to bolster his squad, with a prop now a necessity after first-choice loosehead Harris' exit.

"I look back with a lot of pride on what has been an extraordinarily difficult season," said the chairman. "I think we have made continuous improvement.

"There have been some very talented young players who have broken into the team and that is exciting for the next year or two.

"We can hopefully make one or two signings which enable us to keep improving."

The Welsh quartet are preparing for a new era that will see them face four South African opponents in the United Rugby Championship along with the usual suspects from Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

The top eight will qualify for the quarter-finals but the fear is that financial power will lead to the regions struggling to make an impact.

Buttress has stressed the need for the Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff to be given a fighting chance with more focus from the WRU on the clubs that enable the national side to enjoy success.

South Wales Argus:

"There is importance on everybody who is involved in Welsh rugby off the field to make sure we give our supporters and players the best chance to compete in what I think is going to be one of the most important professional leagues in the world," said Buttress.

"[With] the CVC investment, the United Rugby Championship has been positioned to be one of the premier tournaments in world rugby.

"It is incumbent on all involved, me included, responsible for running the game in Wales off the field to make sure we have further investment in the pro game to be competitive and have the stability.

"We talk about the five-year plan for the league and we need the same in Welsh rugby.

"The conversations are happening and we can see we are trying to make things happen.

"We want Welsh rugby not just to be successfully internationally but also successful in the professional game because there will be a lot of growth in the next four or five years."