DEAN Ryan is staying to call the shots as boss of the Dragons – and believes he can form a strong double act with new head coach Dai Flanagan.

The 36-year-old former fly-half has signed a deal to move to the Dragons from the Scarlets and will be in charge of the attack, with backs coach Gordon Ross gone after two years in his post.

Flanagan has joined the coaching team but Ryan, who arrived in 2019 on a three-year contract, is staying at the helm on a fresh deal.

The Dragons endured a nightmare 2021/22 featuring just two wins – neither of them in Newport – and they finished one from bottom of the United Rugby Championship.

However, Ryan remains in charge and believes that the addition to the management team can lead to strides being made in the coming campaign.

South Wales Argus: Dragons head coach Dai FlanaganDragons head coach Dai Flanagan

“It will strengthen us,” said the former England forward. “Dai’s focus will be on the day-to-day, what is happening in the next hour and what needs to be sorted for tomorrow.

“Am I still going to coach? Yes, when he factors me in! Am I still responsible for rugby? Yes, but we’ve got to work out how that works and I am looking forward to that.

“I always find that people that have challenging ideas and strong opinions make places stronger.

“Does it change my role? It makes it a bit easier because I was probably trying to cover too many things.”

Ryan is prepared to take the flak if the Dragons endure more on-field troubles in 2022/23.

He said: “When it goes wrong it will have been my vote, when it goes right it will have been Dai’s!

“The responsibility for the rugby here is mine and that tends to come with all the negatives, I have no problem with that.”

The director of rugby believes Flanagan, who played for the Cardiff, the Ospreys and Pontypridd, will profit from not being distracted by off-field matters.

South Wales Argus:

“Welsh rugby needs change but Dai doesn’t need to be sucked into that, it’s about making sure that the things we are good at complement each other,” said Ryan.

“There are things that need dealing with but can get in the way of the day-to-day stuff.

“In my experience people making that transition [to being a head coach] get dragged into lots of different challenges.

“This is an opportunity for the pair of us to contribute to the Dragons by making sure we are staying at what we are good at.

“That is a challenge to anybody making those early steps because there are so many demands in this game and people making decisions that influence your environment.

“My responsibility is to create an environment where Dai can remain stable with his contribution, learn and get better.”

Ryan admits the appointment is not a Rodney Parade revolution but the plan is to help Flanagan towards a position where he would be leading candidate to take the reins.

“I don’t think much will change but what this will do is fill in a lot of the gaps that were around,” said Ryan.

“I don’t see a significant change – has it been a significant change for Rob Baxter at Exeter that Ali Hepher is head coach?

“I am really excited about trying to support Dai and in the early stages does that mean there is more of me? Possibly, but at the latter stages I absolutely hope there is less of me and more of Dai.”