NEWPORT Gwent Dragons head of conditioning Alex Lawson has left to take up a role in Japan, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 40-year-old, who was a fly-half/full-back for Newport RFC between 1996 and 1998, joined the Dragons in the summer of 2010.

After four seasons at Rodney Parade he is heading for a fresh challenge with Toyota Verblitz, who currently boast World Cup winning All Black Jerome Kaino in their ranks, and the Judgement Day clash with the Ospreys was his last with the region.

"It's a great opportunity for me professionally and also for my family to travel and experience another culture," said Lawson.

"I am excited by the challenge but sad to be leaving the Dragons because I have loved my time here and feel that the region is on the up.

"I put a lot of work into the new training facility at Ystrad Mynach and it's a shame I won't get to use it,but the players deserve a quality base."

Director of rugby Lyn Jones said: "Alex has been a great servant for the region for the last four seasons and we wish him and his family well out in Japan."

Lawson is the third member of the management team to leave this season following the departures of head coach Darren Edwards and team manager Robert Beale.