Newport Gwent Dragons 'should move' if new investors wish - Michael Owen

Michael Owen
Michael Owen won 41 Wales caps and helped them win the 2005 Grand Slam

Former Wales captain Michael Owen says "mediocre" Newport Gwent Dragons should move elsewhere in Wales if any new investors want them to.

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips has said the WRU will consider taking over the east Wales team if it fails to attract new funds.

"You can't be allowed to be mediocre and that is what has happened," said ex-Dragon Owen.

Owen has suggested the region could move to Pontypridd or north Wales.

Dragons' management have previously unveiled plans to establish themselves as an independent region - with the WRU relinquishing its 50% stake.

They have finished as the lowest-ranked Welsh region in eight out of 12 seasons in the Pro12 and have struggled to attract big-name signings and retain top Wales internationals.

Owen, who joined Dragons from Pontypridd in 2003 when Welsh rugby's old top-flight club structure made way for regions, told Scrum V Radio: "While investment is obviously vitally important, you need ideas and drive and determination as well.

"There hasn't been that driving force at the Dragons dragging it up by its bootlaces and making it a really special region and a vibrant place, which it has the potential to be.

"This is a long time coming. What incentive has there been for the Dragons to get better?

"Maybe someone would be willing to invest in a region elsewhere, like in Pontypridd or north Wales or something like that.

"If that is the case, they should take the region there, rather than try and force it to work somewhere it isn't working and have it like a franchise system."

Owen also cited the examples of Irish province Connacht, who won the Pro12 in 2015-16, and Scottish team Glasgow Warriors, who are highly regarded throughout Europe.

"Look at Connacht and Glasgow and where they were five years ago," said Owen.

Tyler Morgan
Three-times capped Wales centre Tyler Morgan, 21, is one of Dragons' rising stars

"But they have had people there driving them forward.

"The Dragons have that potential, but they have no divine right to stay there, accepting mediocrity.

"The whole point of professional rugby is to aim for the stars."

'You can't afford to lose the Dragons'

Another former Dragon Luke Charteris feels the region needs to remain in Gwent, however.

The Wales and Bath lock said: "Someone needs to come in and if they can't get a new investor then I think it is imperative the WRU do step in.

"What you can't afford is to lose the Dragons. They are one of the original regions and this is a strong region for rugby.

Luke Charteris
Luke Charteris won his first Wales cap while at Dragons in 2004

"The Dragons still have the youngsters coming through. They always have, so you have to have that that team for them.

"If the WRU took them over, perhaps the chance for those youngsters would even increase."

Top Stories