Rob Appleyard: Lyn Jones will give Dragons true direction
1:31pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Sport
FORMER Newport Gwent Dragons coach Rob Appleyard believes the region will reap the benefits of Lyn Jones' leadership qualities over the coming campaign.
The RaboDirect Pro12 season gets under way when Ulster head to Rodney Parade on Friday (kick-off 7.15pm).
It will be the first game for the Dragons under director of rugby Jones' stewardship following a summer of change that saw forwards and defence coach Appleyard leave the region.
His role has been given to Kingsley Jones, who has followed Lyn Jones from London Welsh, while head coach Darren Edwards retained his title but moved down the pecking order and previous director of rugby Robert Beale has returned to the position team manager.
"Change had to happen at all sorts of levels, it wasn't a successful season and it felt like maybe the region wasn't on a nice clear pathway," said former Wales flanker Appleyard on BBC's Scrum V on Radio.
"There's a new chief executive coming in (Gareth Davies), that makes the business go in the right direction financially and how the business is run off the field.
"Leadership is very important within a management structure, I worked with Lyn before and he will definitely give leadership and clear direction.
"But rugby can be quite simple; it's about recruitment, the environment you create and an ethos that you play to.
"I am hearing good vibes already about how pre-season has gone and it will be interesting to see how it all develops."
Appleyard also believes the recruitment – which was completed before Jones' arrival – should lead to an upturn of fortunes.
"So many (losses) last year were down to a tactical naivety," he said. "As I was leaving there the big chat was about the spine of the team, the game controllers had to come in.
"(Tighthead, Francisco) Chaparro has come in to try and shore up the scrum, Rhys Thomas, the ex-international hooker came in to give a bit of stability in the front row, (half-backs) Richie Rees and Kris Burton or Jason Tovey will give some tactical awareness, getting the Dragons into the right areas and perhaps finishing games off.
"With some really talented boys coming back from the Junior World Championship we will see more control but some good exciting young players as well."
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