Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman has been appointed as the new head coach of the Newport Gwent Dragons.
Jackman will start his role next week when he takes over from Kingsley Jones, who has been appointed to lead the Welsh Rugby Union’s exiles programme.
“It is a huge honour to join at such an exciting time,” said Jackman.
The WRU will take over control of the Dragons on 1 July after Newport RFC shareholders voted through plans for them to do so earlier in June.
A review of the coaching set up at the Dragons was undertaken by WRU and Dragons chief executives Martyn Phillips and Stuart Davies – and involved Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
Jackman played in the Connacht side coached by Gatland and was previously head coach of Top 14 side Grenoble. Gatland recommended his former player for the Dragons role.
“Bernard is an ideal fit for the Dragons and I know he will be 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,” said Gatland.
“He will be a huge asset to the region, he will create the right environment to allow a talented group to become even better players at the Dragons and he is someone in whom the supporters will find they can put their trust as he will work tirelessly in his pursuit of success.”
Jackman says he is relishing the opportunity.
“The region is a hot-bed of Welsh rugby and to join at such a significant moment in time is a challenge I relish. I can’t wait to get started and look forward to meeting the playing squad and the backroom team,” said the 41-year-old.
“We are obviously at the beginning of a major period of transition off the pitch, but on it we will need to quickly get down to work and reward the faith and obvious passion of our supporters throughout the region.”
Jones is the WRU’s new performance exiles manager where he will work with another ex-Dragons coach in Paul Turner.
“It has been both a privilege and an honour to lead the region that I grew up in over the last four years,” said Jones.
“On a personal level I look forward with a great deal of enthusiasm to a new challenge in a pivotal role within the WRU performance department.
“This is an exhilarating new chapter in my coaching career and I can’t wait to start.”