NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have appointed Huw Bevan as their elite performance manager and believe the England cricket team’s strength and conditioning coach is the perfect man to make the most of their new state-of-the-art training base.

The 49-year-old is currently helping Alastair Cook and his team prepare for the start of their Test series against Sri Lanka at Lord’s but he will soon be taking the helm at the region’s £7million facility in Ystrad Mynach.

Bevan, a former hooker with Bridgend, Cardiff and Swansea, has been working at the ECB since 2009 and has become an influential figure with the national team.

However, he has been tempted back to rugby by Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones, who he worked with at the Ospreys when they won the Celtic League in 2005 and 2007 and EDF Energy Cup in 2008.

Bevan, who told coach Peter Moores of his decision last week, will remain with England for the time being but has been a frequent visitor at Ystrad Mynach and will have a heavy influence on pre-season training.

Chief executive Gareth Davies. “We have a fantastic new £7million facility and it’s fine to have a 'Taj Mahal' but we need the right people to make it work.

“Strength and conditioning coach Alex Lawson left at the end of the season and we saw it as an opportunity to make an important statement. Rather than replacing like for like we could appoint Huw, who wants to broaden his role at the high performance end.

“But he will also be key in terms of the environment and culture at the region. The Dragons have almost had an acceptance as being the fourth region; Huw will be a key figure in changing that.

“It’s a big step forward for the region, not just on the playing side of things but as a business.”

Bevan’s appointment follows the promotion of Kingsley Jones to be full-time head coach after being part-time assistant last season.

Ryan Harris and Simon Church will work alongside Bevan as strength and conditioning coaches.