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Local paper piles pressure on '£284,012 Dean Ryan'

By Paul Smith
Dean Ryan has come under fire (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

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Pressure has been piled on Dragons boss Dean Ryan by the regional side’s local paper the South Wales Argus.


Under a headline reading “Dean Ryan still up for the fight at the struggling Dragons” an article written by sports reporter Chris Kirwan begins by advising that the former Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol director of rugby is out of contract at Rodney Parade at the end of the current campaign.

Kirwan goes on to describe the struggling Dragons, who are out of Europe and currently sit in 15th place in the 16-strong United Rugby Championship, as enduring “a horror campaign.”

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The four Welsh regional sides are considerably less well-funded than their IRFU-owned Irish counterparts and this situation is given context when the Argus acknowledges that Ryan faces “the usual financial constraints.”

However, the article goes on to advise its readers that Companies House research reveals that the Dragons DOR earns an annual salary of more than £250,000.

“Ryan arrived in the summer of 2019 on a three-year contract with his role also including a seat on the Dragons board, with the accounts for the year ending 2020 revealing the director was paid £284,012,” it states.

The Dragons have won only once this season – a 35-22 success `over Connacht at the Galway Sportsground while they also drew 13-all against “weakened Benetton” after giving a performance described as “frustrating” on Friday evening.


Ryan’s team have otherwise have suffered six URC defeats. In addition they lost all three European Challenge Cup contests against Perpignan, Lyon and Benetton in a sequence which the Argus calculates to leave Ryan with “just 17 wins from 57 games since heading for Rodney Parade.”

The article goes on to quote Ryan’s pleasure at seeing young talent emerging before looking at planned incoming signings.

“We can’t just sit with the same group and expect the trajectory to change, we’ve got to challenge people to be better and we’ve got to add people,” Ryan said.


Wales hooker Bradley Roberts is among those joining next season while the Dragons are thought to be targeting Exeter lock Sean Lonsdale and Bath centre Max Clark, who are both Welsh-qualified, plus Clermont Auvergne’s former Munster and Northampton fly-half JJ Hanrahan.

The 55-year-old former Wasps and Newcastle no.8 whose coaching career began in 2000 also faces a fair amount of criticism from fans commenting on the article.

“Think talent is there, need to channel it properly, not sure that is happening at present – not apparent if it is,” one writes.

Another comments: “Ryan blames the players but rarely seems to take any personal responsibility. Yes the financial situation is unfavourable, but it’s not as if the issue is struggling against Leinster/Munster – we can’t even put away Benetton thirds, with what was for the most part a first choice XV.

“The problem isn’t the quality of players in the main, but basic errors, clueless plays, lack of direction etc. Ryan has overseen an improvement compared to the past but it’s time for him to move on I think, let someone else take the team on the next step.”

Another post says simply: “Under-14 Dads and coaches could do a better job,” while several call for former player Paul Turner, who is currently in charge at English Championship club Ampthill, to take over.


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