BOSS Dean Ryan says that Dragons are 'passionate' about getting independence from the Welsh Rugby Union and that it's vital for their growth.

Chairman David Buttress is leading a consortium that will take control of the Rodney Parade region back from the governing body, who have been in charge since an agreement in May 2017 that also saw them buy Newport RFC's historic ground.

The aim was to be back in private ownership by the end of this month, signing a long-term lease for the use of Rodney Parade, but the coronavirus crisis has led to a delay.

READ MORE: Buttress on the delay to Dragons deal

A takeover was completed at the Ospreys in May despite the pandemic and director of rugby Ryan is confident that the Dragons will follow when things settle down.

"In terms of the future, nothing changes," said Ryan. "The model of us going into private ownership is something that the chairman, David Buttress, feels very passionately about as do I, to get independence from the WRU.

Campaign Series:

"The timelines have changed, for obvious reasons, but it has not gone away. If anything, some of the challenges that we have faced over these months has galvanised opinions.

"On the field, I believe that we can support and retain our best players. I also believe we can add to them and are becoming a place that people want to be at.

"That doesn't leap us forward two or three years, what it does say is there is real optimism about the place and I don't believe what is going on now has dampened that."

The Covid-19 crisis is putting all professional sports teams under financial pressure and the WRU intend to take out a loan with the bulk of the money going to help the four regions.

"This is only right, as the international and professional game is the financial powerhouse of Welsh rugby," said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

But with games set to be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, all clubs are looking at cutting costs.

"At Dragons we are pretty used to running a tight ship. When people ask us to tighten our buckle, we have been there before. That stands us in good stead," said Ryan.

"This is an organisation is that is trying to get ready to grow. That may be slower than we would have wanted, but it's not going backwards. That has been helpful in this period."

Campaign Series:

The Dragons are ramping up preparations for a return to action with the first of two rounds of Guinness PRO14 fixtures on August 22 to complete the 2019/20 season.

Those derby clashes, set to be against the Scarlets and Ospreys, will help Ryan's men tune up for a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Bristol, which is yet to be confirmed but is set to be on September 19.

"I have learnt more about this group in lockdown then I did in the last ten months. That makes us stronger," said Ryan.

"Everyone is facing some form of adversity, but we have been in it a long time as an organisation and this has just made it a little bit more difficult.

"But we have never lost our optimism about what we are trying to do. We might have to jump through a few more hoops than we thought we did, but we are keeping Dragons on a trajectory that gets us better year on year."