Newport Gwent Dragons: Coach Kingsley Jones in contracts battle

Kingsley Jones
Kingsley Jones' Newport Gwent Dragons face Leinster in the PRO12 on 3 December

Newport Gwent Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones is promising good news on players' contracts, but admits it is difficult to convince new recruits to join the region.

The Dragons have been trying to attract board investment in the region since summer 2016.

"I've met a couple of players and their agents, getting them over the line is a difficult challenge," said Jones.

The region are currently ninth in the PRO12 ahead of the trip to Leinster.

Ambition needed

Kingsley Jones

"We've 14 players out of contract, and there's a lot of work gone in over the last eight weeks of re-signing certain players," Jones continued.

"There's three that have signed contracts and three or four will hopefully happen in the next week or so, we'll have some good news on that front."

The former Wales flanker and captain has to overcome the handicap of the region having been the lowest-placed Welsh PRO12 side in five out of the last six seasons, when trying to attract new faces.

The Dragons have improved their fortunes of late, as they have won their last four home games in all competitions.

"We need to show ambition, winning helps, but the players we're targeting are good enough to have the choice of going to a number of teams," he said.

"We need to make the right sell, but they need to be the right person for us, so it's a challenge."

Kiwi contacts

Johnny McNicholl
Johnny McNicholl scored a try on his debut for Scarlets in their 38-29 PRO12 win against Leinster

Jones is using his father, New Zealand-based agent Phil Kingsley-Jones, to identify possible targets, as well as the contacts of his current squad.

''What works is when they have a couple of friends and they can pick the phone up. [Crusaders wing] Johnny McNicholl has ended up at the Scarlets and he is a player we were talking to. He's mates with the centre there and that's how it works," he said.

''Crossy [lock Nick Crosswell] is mates with a very good player I'm trying to get hold of, he's in contract with super rugby. I've got Crossy to give him a call, because it helps."

Dublin changes

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Newport Gwent Dragons hold on against Edinburgh to move up to eighth in the table.

The Dragons are set to make sweeping changes for the challenging away match against Leinster, who lie second in the PRO12, on Saturday, 3 December.

Centre Sam Beard (dead leg), wing Ashton Hewitt (badly bruised hand), prop Sam Hobbs (toe), hooker TR Thomas (dead leg), lock Matthew Screech (head knock) and number eight Ed Jackson (sore hip) are all likely to miss the Dublin trip after knocks in the win over Edinburgh.

Locks Cory Hill, who won his first caps in the Autumn series, and Rynard Landman (paternity leave) are set to return, along with international wing or full-back Tom Prydie.

Wales three-quarter Tyler Morgan could make his first start since a hamstring injury which ruled him out of Wales contention in November, following two replacement appearances.

The Gwent region then face a double-header against Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup.

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