THE Dragons have appointed former England number eight Luke Narraway as head coach for their Celtic Cup team with Geraint Lewis coming in as an assistant.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan has opted to bring in the duo on short-term deals for the development competition, which kicks off with a trip to Connacht on the weekend of August 23.

They will be joined by Dragons academy head coach Matt O'Brien and forwards boss Sam Hobbs for the seven-week tournament, which features home games against Munster, the Scarlets, Ulster and Ospreys and away clashes with the Eagles, Cardiff Blues and Leinster.

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Narraway, 35, spent last season working at Bordeaux-Begles after cutting his coaching teeth with Coventry in National League One.

The seven-times capped forward played under Ryan at Gloucester in a career that also featured spells at Perpignan and London Irish.

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Former Wales flanker Lewis, who had a short spell working under Jason Strange at Ebbw Vale in 2013, has been Welsh Rugby Union since December 2014 coaching the age-grade teams.

Ryan said: "Luke is a person I know really well, having played for me during our time together at Gloucester, and he is a talented young coach who has spent the last few years with Bordeaux.

"He now has an opportunity for work with our under-23s and we're delighted that Geraint, who has huge knowledge of the talent pool in the region, is also working with us, with the full support of the WRU.

"We need to ensure our academy programme is better supported in the long-term and we are fully developing the age-grade potential in our region.

"Having Luke and Geraint work with our young players during the Celtic Cup competition is an important part of that process and so we're delighted they will both be joining us."

At the start of the month Ryan brought in Simon Cross to work with the defence in pre-season.

The former Edinburgh captain is head of rugby at Royal Grammar School Worcester and will work with the Dragons over the summer.

Director of rugby Ryan inherited a coaching team comprising forwards coaches Ceri Jones and Ian Evans, backs coach Barry Maddocks, skills coach Alan Kingsley and head of strength and conditioning Ryan Harris.

It is likely that the region, playing under the name of Dragons XV, will field stronger sides in the Celtic Cup this season.

The World Cup means that the Guinness PRO14 starts later than usual on the final weekend of September so more experienced players could be given game time as Ryan assesses his squad.