DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan has agreed a deal with a new defence coach from overseas with a “massive aura” to be his right-hand man.

The head coach interviewed candidates over recent months and an appointment is now being rubber-stamped ahead of an announcement, potentially next week.

The new defence coach will arrive this summer to get to grips with a Dragons squad who are battling with the Scarlets and Zebre Parma to avoid being both the bottom club in the United Rugby Championship and the side with the worst defensive record.

Cost-cutting meant that the Rodney Parade club opted to run without a specialist leader for the defence this season after the departure of Simon Cross for Major League Rugby last summer.

Flanagan said: "It's late in the day, the end of April, so if I didn't have a defence coach signed up for next year then I'm probably not doing my job very well!

South Wales Argus: Dragons head coach Dai FlanaganDragons head coach Dai Flanagan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"We've got our guy and I need the right person by my side. We have gone without a defence coach all year for reasons that I have explained previously and that has put a lot of stress on other staff.

"We need someone with a massive aura who will grab the role and lead, while I need an experienced coach that I can learn from and lean on at times.

"I knew when coming to the region that it wouldn’t be easy and I need that ally. I have found him and it will be awesome when we can announce it and we can move forward."

The new man will arrive this summer and will have freedom to put in his own systems through hard graft ahead of the 2024/25 URC, which will get under way on September 20.

The Dragons have conceded 475 points in 14 league games this season (average 33.9 per game) and 66 tries (4.7 per game).

They are ranked 15th out of 16 for both tackle success rate (85 per cent) and tackles missed (290, average 20.7 per game).

“It's a clean slate for them to come in and rebuild the defence,” said Flanagan. “It’s their defence and they will put their stamp on it.

“I would ideally like it to mirror them as a person – it shouldn’t be easy when teams come to Rodney Parade and that starts when we haven’t got the ball.”

A new defence coach is unlikely to be the only backroom change with forwards coaches Luke Narraway and Mefin Davies both out of contract.

Sam Hobbs has been tipped to follow backs coach Matt O’Brien’s lead in being promoted from the academy.

The former prop has been helping out with the seniors this senior while also being forwards coach with Premiership title hopefuls Newport RFC and Wales Under-20s.

The Dragons are also set to start unveiling signings ahead of next season with Flanagan chasing "up to seven" fresh faces.

One of those could well be former Ospreys and Cardiff tighthead Dmitri Arhip, who has featured in two games since arriving on a short-term deal until the end of the season.