The former Ireland international Bernard Jackman has been appointed as the new head coach of the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Jackman is taking over from Kingsley Jones who will be leading the Welsh Rugby Union’s exiles programme.

Next month the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) will be taking operational control of the Dragons and their stadium Rodney Parade after Newport RFC shareholders voted through the highly publicised plans last month.

Stuart Davies and Martyn Phillips undertook a review of the coaching set up at the team and consulted people such as Geraint John, the Head of Professional Rugby at the WRU and Warren Gatland, the British & Irish Lions head coach.

Gatland was Jackman’s coach at Connacht in the 1990s and recommended him for the position. Speaking this week Gatland said, “Bernard is an ideal fit for the Dragons and I know he will work diligently and exhaustively to ensure that the set-up both on and off the pitch at Rodney Parade is of the very highest quality.”

He went on to say that Jackman will be a “huge asset” and will create the right environment for the players to develop in at the Dragons. He said that the supporters can trust him and be sure that he will “work tirelessly in his pursuit of success”.

Jackman left Grenoble in March 2017 and has been out of work since then. After the appointment was announced, he said that he is hugely looking forward to his new challenge in Wales.

“It is a huge honour for me to be joining the Dragons at such an exciting time in their history,” said Jackman. “The region is a hot bed of Welsh rugby and to join at such a significant moment in time is a challenge I relish.”