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Ryan claims 'mystery' figure has to sanction new Dragons arrivals

By Chris Jones
Dean Ryan (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Dragons boss Den Ryan has complained about the significant problems he faces trying to bring in non-Welsh qualified players and claims a “mystery person” at the Welsh Rugby Union has to sanction any new arrivals.


Ryan brought in Samoan Aki Seiuli and Fiji’s Mesake Doge to help bolster the Dragons front-row resources and the pair made their competitive debuts alongside fellow new arrivals Will Rowlands, Lewis Jones and Jordan Olowofela in the 27-23 defeat against Ospreys.

Despite adding that talent to his squad, Ryan is concerned the process of gaining agreement from the WRU, who own the club, continues to be a major handicap. One possible solution to help Ryan is for Dragons chairman David Buttress to finally succeed in his bid to return the region to private ownership.

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Ryan told BBC Sport: “I couldn’t believe how many walls were built to make that difficult. Those are the hurdles sometimes we are facing in a market where normally you are already late in January.

“We need to be sanctioned by a mystery person in the WRU about the quality of the people that are non-Welsh, and we never got an answer. I still don’t know who that person is. We never got an answer in a recruitment market that shifts daily, and we were already in April and May.

“We’ve got a number of spaces that we are able to use for non-Welsh players and we couldn’t get them in. We were having to ask permission in May to get people in and we got no answer, so to get both Mes and Aki was a fantastic piece of work.

“We are constantly challenged with our finances, which restricts our depth and quality. The group that went out against the Ospreys were fantastic. The five that came in, I thought they were fantastic.


“Will (Rowlands) is some player and adds a lot. We’ve always known that our back row (are talented) but now we can say our back five of the pack will cause lots of problems.”


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