Hazell insists Dragons coaching staff don't face the axe
CHAIRMAN Martyn Hazell has insisted that the Newport Gwent Dragons coaching staff are not for the chop despite the region suffering the heaviest defeat in their history.
The Dragons conceded eight tries to a Glasgow side shorn of their Scotland stars in a humiliating 60-3 RaboDirect Pro12 loss at Rodney Parade last Friday night.
The débâcle has led to a host of calls for the removal of the entire coaching staff, but that won’t happen – director of rugby Robert Beale, head coach Darren Edwards and assistant Rob Appleyard are all under contract and it would cost too much to make sweeping changes.
However, the feeling is that something needs to be done with the Dragons sitting one place off the bottom of the table and with a record of played 25, lost 17 this season.
And it will be meltdown on Sunday if the region are downed by Italian whipping boys Zebre, who have lost all 21 of their fixtures.
But with seven games to play this term, Hazell insists there will not be a cull of coaches and that they will be at the helm in Parma this weekend.
He said: “At this time we have got to stand firm – it’s too far into this season and I can’t see what good changes would do.
“As chairman I am not happy with how things are going and you see people calling out for this and that on Twitter and websites, but there are no easy answers.
“Of course as a board we understand the fans’ frustrations but they have got to try to bear with us.
“The coaches apologised to me after the game but I said ‘don’t go through that blow by blow, the players let you down’.
“There will be no changes in the immediate future. We are too far down the line (this season) and I don’t believe that drastic changes will help.”
After the 60-3 drubbing Edwards attempted to take full responsibility for the performance against title-chasing Glasgow.
The Dragons have now shipped the most tries of the 28 teams in Europe’s three frontline leagues, but rather than point the finger at his players Edwards issued a mea culpa.
“The nature of the job is that I will cop the flak,” said the head coach. “I prepare the team and I take total responsibility. The buck stops with me.
“It was embarrassing and we’ve got to make a massive apology but we’ve just got to fight and keep going.
“We had a good month (they had won their previous three) and had put some good building blocks in place but it all fell apart on Friday. Every aspect of our play went wrong.
“We were poor in every area, we didn’t challenge Glasgow from an attacking, defensive or set-piece point of view.
“That was embarrassing and there’s no other way of talking about a defeat like that.”
He continued: “The players didn’t do their jobs but I can’t be blaming them – it’s ultimately my responsibility.
“I’ve got to question whether they are right going on that pitch so I don’t want to make any excuses for myself.
“It’s a very damaging result and very personal. You want to make sure you put things right.”