WARREN Gatland’s Wales assistants are among the contenders to be the next Dragons boss along with Lions coach Graham Rowntree, writes Chris Kirwan.

Ceri Jones has been holding the reins since the Rodney Parade region sacked Bernard Jackman in December and the forwards coach is a candidate to get the role permanently.

Gatland’s management team of Robin McBryde, Rob Howley and Shaun Edwards – who are all leaving their roles after the World Cup – are also on the radar of Dragons chairman David Buttress.

Campaign Series: CANDIDATE: Graham RowntreeCANDIDATE: Graham Rowntree

Discussions have also been held with former England and Leicester prop Rowntree, who is currently Georgia’s forwards coach.

The 47-year-old worked as one of Gatland’s assistants on the tours to South Africa in 2009, Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

Rowntree was a member of England’s management team between 2007 and 2015 and worked in club rugby at the Tigers and Harlequins.

Buttress told the Argus last month that he aims to make his appointment before Judgement Day against the Scarlets on April 27.

If the Dragons plump for a coach who is at Japan 2019 then Jones, who is under contract as forwards coach, will hold the reins until their involvement in the tournament is over.

"I am conscious that it is World Cup and there are a lot of good coaches that will come on the market and we have Ceri, who is a credible internal candidate,” said Buttress.

"The board want the best person possible to be coach for the next three or four years, so I am also starting to think about timing.

"Is it right to get them for pre-season or is it best to wait for the right candidate after the World Cup? If it is Ceri then it's easy, if it's an external candidate then we retain the option to flexible about when they start."