CHAIRMAN David Buttress says the Dragons had to act fast to snap up Ross Moriarty and that they couldn’t risk waiting for a national dual contract.

The 23-year-old Wales international signed a two-year deal at the weekend that will see him head to Newport from Gloucester at the end of the season.

The powerhouse back row forward will be paid entirely from the Dragons’ budget rather than returning home on a national dual contract that would have seen the Welsh Rugby Union pick up 60 per cent of the tab.

Buttress says that was necessary to ensure the Rodney Parade region got their man after head coach Bernard Jackman had put the Lions tourist at the top of his wishlist.

"Time wasn’t on our side,” said the chairman, who told Jackman his 2018/19 playing budget in September.

“Bernard identified Ross as our top target and we didn’t have time to go down the NDC route. That may have taken until January and there wasn’t a guarantee we would have got him.

“We couldn’t take the risk of waiting because we may have missed out on him. We had to act and get Ross in the bag, which I’m delighted as happened.”

The Dragons currently have a playing budget of £3.5million that will grow to around £4.2million next season.

“Ross is fully funded out of next year’s budget but I think we can drive additional revenues. It’s not predicated on any additional growth or revenue,” he said.

He continued: “If we can bring in talented players that drives more success, which drives more sponsorship, which drives more commercial engagement, which drives more supporters, which drives more hospitality.

“All of a sudden you get a flywheel effect of high performance. That’s what we are trying to create but we can only do it constrained by our existing budget.

“Will it be easy? No, and nobody should think that other regions are not trying to do this. We are going to have to be better at doing it, or frankly it will be challenging.”