Bernard Jackman named as Newport Gwent Dragons head coach

The former Ireland international left French side Grenoble earlier this year

Bernard Jackman

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Former Ireland and Leinster hooker Bernard Jackman has been appointed as the new head coach of Welsh rugby team, Newport Gwent Dragons.

Jackman left his role as Grenoble FC head coach in March and the 41-year-old said he looks forward to hitting the ground running at Rodney Parade.

"It is a huge honour for me to be joining the Dragons at such an exciting time in their history," said Jackman. "The region is a hot bed of Welsh rugby and to join at such a significant moment in time is a challenge I relish.

"I can’t wait to get started and look forward to meeting the playing squad and the backroom team.

"We are obviously at the beginning of a major period of transition off the pitch, but on it we will need to quickly get down to work and reward the faith and obvious passion of our supporters throughout the region."

The Dragons will begin their work in direct partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the club say Jackman's appointment is "the first milestone moment" in their new direction.

The WRU will assume operational control of the Dragons and their Rodney Parade home on July 1st.

The appointment comes after a review of the coaching set up at the Dragons was undertaken by Stuart Davies and Martyn Phillips and involved Geraint John, Head of Professional Rugby at the WRU.

British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, was also part of the review process.

"We hope that Bernard receives a warm welcome from everyone throughout the Region, he carries the weight of hope and expectation of a group of extremely passionate rugby supporters on his shoulders but we believe he is more than equal to it," said WRU chief executive, Martyn Phillips.

"We are confident that he is the right man for the job and we will be providing our continued support wherever necessary."

Jackman takes over from incumbent Kingsley Jones, after Jones was appointed to head up the WRU's exiles programme - a role which aims to identify and recruit new talent to the professional game in Wales.