BERNARD Jackman says his happy young Dragons are giving a boost to his busy recruitment drive.

The head coach has so far signed Lions tourist Ross Moriarty from Gloucester, Wales scrum-half Rhodri Williams and utility back Jordan Williams from Bristol for next season.

He has also brought in Welsh-qualified centre Jarryd Sage from the Southern Kings, with the South African set to make his debut for the Dragons Premiership Select XV against Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday, while wing/centre Calvin Wellington has returned to Wales from Super League giants St Helens with the aim of a New Year debut.

Jackman, who yesterday brought in Scarlets tighthead Nicky Thomas on loan because of a prop crisis, is eyeing a dozen new arrivals for next summer but is marrying his transfer dealings with securing the services of the bright young talent currently on the books.

Wales internationals Leon Brown, Elliot Dee and Ollie Griffiths have signed deals to stay at Rodney Parade, as have Jack Dixon, Joe Davies and James Benjamin.

The boss believes their seal of approval is making the task of selling the Dragons to potential new recruits easier.

“The retention has been really easy, I haven’t had any difficult conversations. The agents obviously do their job but I haven’t had to convince the players, to be honest,” said the former Ireland hooker.

“Once that I’ve said that we’d like to offer an extension they’ve all said ‘let’s get it done, I’m happy here’, which is great.

“That’s helped us with recruitment as well because the rugby world is so small that any people we are trying to recruit know people at the Dragons.

“It’s been pleasing that when targets have rung Dragons players they have been given a really positive reference.”

Jackman wants to talk to wing George North, who is returning to Wales on a dual contract next season at a region yet to be confirmed, while the head coach has made no secret of his aim to tap into the exiles market.

The Dragons have also been linked with a big-money move for Australia superstar fly-half/centre Quade Cooper.

“I’m not going to comment on any targets because if I deny one but not another it confirms them, so I’m not going to say anything about anybody in terms of recruitment,” said Jackman.

“The lads in the office tell me about the speculation but unless I have the contract signed I am not going to comment.

“I’ve gone on the record in saying that we are going to recruit players to add to the depth and quality that we have, but for the first time in a long time the Dragons have been able to retain everyone that they want.

“There are still more re-signings to come and that’s great, because we are going to build a culture around those local lads rather than recruiting them from everywhere and create an identity.

“The identity will be based around players who have come from Gwent, who have come through our pathway system and are passionate about representing the region.

“It’s similar to what there was at Leinster when it was based around homegrown players and then we brought in people like Rocky Elsom, Isa Nacewa, Felipe Contepomi who added a different skill set and a different knowledge base.

“It was the likes of Johnny Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll, Shane Horgan that controlled the dressing room to a certain extent.”

l Dragons ease prop worries with Thomas signing: Page 36