SINCE heading to Rodney Parade in 2014 Rynard Landman has been an enigma, a player who can look like an international for much of a game but then something that wouldn't look out of place in the WRU National Leagues.

The South African has thrilled and exasperated three coaches – Lyn Jones signed him, Kingsley Jones renewed his contract and now Bernard Jackman looks likely to bring his Dragons career to a conclusion.

The second row forward is out in the cold at the moment with a pair of PRO14 appearances sandwiched by spells with Newport RFC in the Principality Premiership.

Last weekend the Dragons headed to Connacht without Wales international Cory Hill and the injured Brandon Nansen and Matthew Screech yet it was Joe Davies that partnered the recently-converted Lewis Evans in the boilerhouse with James Thomas, another back row/lock, providing cover.

I have no problem with the Evans experiment and it isn't just because he is an Argus columnist that I believe the signs are encouraging; the stalwart's lineout expertise and work in the loose make it a trial worth continuing.

But the absence of Landman is baffling for a side that is struggling; the South African is under contract for another season and it is odd not to use him. History appears to be repeating.

Jackman may well feel that the lock doesn't provide value for money so won't be renewing his contract. Fair enough, that's a boss' call and it is well documented that the Dragons aren't exactly flush with cash.

The head coach was ruthless last season when it came to the likes of Pat Howard, Sam Beard, Rhys Buckley and others.

Phil Price left to try and earn a deal with the Scarlets, something he managed, while Dorian Jones ended his contract early to head to France in the summer.

Maybe the hope is that Landman will catch the eye of another club who will step in and take his wage off the Dragons' books until the end of the season, but if they don't then the region has a player on a six-figure sum holding tackle bags and plying his trade in a semi-professional league.

The South African may not have matched the consistency and influence of his compatriot and fellow 2014 arrival Brok Harris but his time in the east of Wales will unquestionably be labelled a success whenever he leaves and I am sure he won't be short of offers for his next move.

The pressure is on all overseas recruits to provide bang for their buck and Landman has done that since arriving from the Cheetahs.

The lock has played in 113 of 137 possible games, racking up 25 appearances in his first campaign then 30, 28 and 28.

He has provided some big displays and his early exploits earned the honour of sharing the captaincy with Rhys Thomas in 2014/15 when Lee Byrne was forced to retire.

Landman hasn't quite matched the effort of that first campaign and can be a tad loose at times, but he remains a fine player and in September, after earning a recall, pledged to stay positive regardless of what was coming.

"I want to keep my place now. I did what I did, we will see if it was good enough for the coaches," he said after the win against Zebre. "Whatever happens I will keep being my positive self and keep working harder."

That patience and hunger is being tested and the decision to leave Landman out in the cold will continue to be questioned while defeats rack up and performances are poor.

Every call is under the microscope at the moment after a nightmare opening few months in a season that kicked off with such hope.

Folk weren't unrealistic, they didn't expect the Dragons to be challenging for the play-offs but they expected (and deserved) progress.

That simply hasn't happened with the Rodney Parade region being bottom of Conference B and having a lower points tally than anyone in Conference A.

Displays have been deflating and supporters are understandably restless.

The break in the PRO14 is timely and allows a time for reflection and to calm down from the horror show at Connacht, not that chairman David Buttress is a man that will act in haste anyway.

Jackman was ruthless when it came to his squad last season but his boss won't be cold-bloodedly swinging the axe given that he understands the size of the job.

However, the former Just Eat chief executive also knows that Dragons supporters are fed up with their diet of gruel.

At the risk of stretching the similar too far, this season's ingredients should lead to chef Jackman serving up something much more palatable.

His task is hard, and he knew that when replacing Kingsley Jones, but it is essential that green shoots show in the second year.

The Dragons still have a small budget and their squad is still weaker than most of the PRO14, but the budget is bigger than it was while the squad is the strongest it has been for years.

Of the 45 players listed on their website in the senior squad, 16 have played Test rugby for Wales (three of them Lions), one has played for the Springboks and another is a Samoan international, yet the results are as bad as ever.

Against Connacht they were worryingly fragile with their failure to take early chances followed by a horrendous four-try collapse in the second quarter.

At the start of the season I was very confident that the Dragons would comfortably eclipse their 2017/18 tally of two PRO14 wins. I retain the confidence that they will eclipse it, but have removed 'comfortably'.

Chalking up just four league successes in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 – then regional record lows – was seen as embarrassing whereas the current gloom would have us relieved at a quartet of victories.

When Jackman does eventually leave he will no doubt be able to catalogue the problems that made his task even tougher than he expected when he agreed to head for Rodney Parade.

But for now his job is ensuring that his successor takes over a club on the up and the pre-Christmas spell, one that will influence the next recruitment drive, is pivotal to that.

There simply has to be some signs of on-field progress for the whole organisation to move forward.