DRAGONS fans recently had to endure the familiar threat of the region being cut, but just how important is the team to Newport and the rest of Gwent?

Luckily for fans, it appears that the region is safe for now but the issue of the region being scrapped is likely to reappear in the future.

The Argus spoke to fans before yesterday evening's derby clash with Cardiff how they felt about the recent uncertainty around the club's future and the importance of having a professional rugby team in Gwent.

David Richards said that he believes that it is "short-sighted" of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to consider cutting the Dragons, though he is happy that this unlikely to happen in the immediate future.

South Wales Argus:

"I'm relieved because Gwent is a big area that needs representation," said Mr Richards.

"This is one of the most populous regions of Wales, you have to have a pro team.

"Having a professional rugby team is massively important and provides a clear pathway for young players."

Nick Price, a season ticket holder since the Dragons were formed, said: "I've followed the Dragons through thin and thin and thin.

South Wales Argus:

"The whole of Gwent will be disenfranchised from rugby if the team goes.

"Newport is the third biggest city in Wales - the fan base is available but it's getting people to come along."

Another fan who did not wish to be named was rather disparaging about the WRU and said their recent actions do not inspire confidence.

"It's incredibly important to have a professional team here," said the fan.

"If the Dragons are shut down, then County will suffer as they can't afford to buy Rodney Parade.

"It could potentially destroy sport in South East Wales and it could put a lot of people out of business."

Michael Weedall, a wheelchair rugby player for the Dragons (below, second from right), spoke in glowing terms about the region.

South Wales Argus:

"The Dragons as a region really get involved in the community," said Mr Weedall.

"It is absolutely fabulous the work that they do.

"As the wheelchair team we have the Dragons behind us and it means a great deal.

"If the team goes, what happens to all of those provisions? What happens to people's mental and physical health?"

However, Mr Weedall's enthusiasm for the team is not shared by all.

Writing on social media, many Argus readers said they were more invested in Newport RFC than the Dragons.

A number said the Dragons is not well supported outside Newport.

Fan Matt Beck agreed with this and said: "Not enough of the Gwent region support the Dragons.

"But the other clubs in the west don't have much support either."

However when asked if it would be preferable to ditch the regional format, Mr Beck said "the game has moved on".

But other readers commented on the importance of community work carried out by the Dragons.

Whatever lies in store for the future, it is likely that support for the Dragons can only grow if results improve.

The team clearly has some die-hard fans, but the rest of Newport and Gwent may continue to doubt the importance of the team despite thier visibility in the community.