NEWPORT Gwent Dragons’ head coach Darren Edwards has left the region with immediate effect.
The former Wales international began his career at the Dragons in June 2009, when he joined as backs coach under Paul Turner.
In 2011 the 39-year-old became head coach of the region after the departure of Turner. Previous to this he was a member of the 2003 Wales squad and won representative honours with Wales A, Sevens, Under 21, Students and Under 18.
He also played for Gwent premiership side Newport RFC and made over 21 appearances for the club.
He also made more than 100 appearances for London Irish and played for Bedford and London Welsh before ending his career at Leeds Carnegie.
On leaving the men of Gwent, Edwards said: “After five seasons my time with the Dragons has come to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here working with some fantastic players.
“In professional sport it is important that you continue to challenge yourself and develop and I have decided that now is the time for me to do that.
“In agreement with the Dragons I am leaving at this stage of the season, as it will enable me to spend time with my wife and young sons before moving onto my next challenge.
“It is good to see the Dragons in a healthy place and having a great win at Rodney Parade last Sunday.”
Director of Rugby Lyn Jones said: “It’s a shame to see Darren leave the region after his long tenure here.
As a former Newport RFC player he has brought a lot of experience to the role of head coach at the Dragons.
“Being with the club for five years - I admire his decision to take a break before his next role.
“Personally I have enjoyed his company and working alongside him, and hope that he keeps in touch.
“Everyone here at the Dragons wishes him well for the future.”
Chief executive of Rodney Parade, Gareth Davies added: "I would like to thanks Darren for all of his hard work over the five years he has been here and I wish him all the best in his future ventures."