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Sunday 17 December 2017

Jackman has to fire up his Dragons

Bernard Jackman. Pic: Sportsfile
Bernard Jackman. Pic: Sportsfile

Ronan O'Gara will leave to be an assistant coach at Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders on New Year's Day.

Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman is already the head coach of the less celebrated Dragons.

O'Gara is on his way to learn from the best. Jackman is all about transforming the club with the second worst record in the PRO14 League.

Jackman will have to be a hatchet man this season as the Welsh club goes through a complete transformation.

"I know where I want to go. I want to be a head coach of a top-six team in any of (the) elite leagues in Europe, who can play Champions Cup," said Jackman.

"If I can get the Dragons to be a Champions Cup side, I think that would be a massive marker on my CV."

It was readily visible from last Friday night's thumping from Leinster that Jackman has to be ruthless. Perhaps, that is why the Welsh Rugby Union - they bought the club - brought in an outsider.

"The big criticism I had was, there were a load of young players in it, but they never had any games," said Jackman.

"It's a massive rebuild. We're going to recruit next year. That's just the way it is. We just don't have good enough players.

"This is a unique year for the Dragons," he said.

"We need to try and up-skill them this year and see who is worth keeping and who's not.

"I suppose, fast-track them to make sure that next year they're usable players in our depth chart."

There is light at the end of a tunnel that stretches all the way to May.

The signing of British & Irish Lion Ross Moriarty, announced yesterday, is a statement of intent and there are more in the pipeline.

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