DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman has praised his squad for staying tight despite the "tough conversations" with players who are being moved on.

The head coach is set to ring the changes this summer after his first season at Rodney Parade with a high number of players being released to make room for a raft of new signings.

The writing has been on the wall for some individuals and Jackman has started to confirm the bad news and tell them to intensify the search for deals elsewhere.

"We've had a few tough conversations," said the Irishman. "Players understand that the good thing about this season is, because of injuries, everyone has had a lot of chances.

"We've been as transparent as we could be all along about where they stood in the pecking order so I don't think any conversations we've had have been a shock.

"The squad have stayed pretty tight. It's a strange year and there's going to be a lot of turnover but also where we're coming from is going to be different to everyone else.

"We've come from the bottom so we need to make drastic changes in terms of how we prepare with the group we have and also in terms of recruitment.

"The thing is with rugby, the group that started on June 1, finish on May 31 together and you make the most of it.

"We're not in this for career jobs and there's change that happens all the time.

"Our group are mature enough to understand that, even if they're not going to be here next year, there's plenty of rugby to be played and hopefully some success before the end of the season."

The face-to-face conversations with axed players are responsibilities that no coach relishes, even if they can often draw from being on the other side of the table in their playing days.

"It's not easy, it's horrible – the worst part of my job," said Jackman. "But at the end of the day I've just got to make those calls based on what I feel and we have recruited players so we have to make space."

Jackman has so far brought in centre Jarryd Sage and wing/centre Calvin Wellington with immediate effect while the confirmed summer recruits are back row Ross Moriarty, hooker Richard Hibbard, scrum-halves Rhodri Williams and Rhodri Davies, utility back Jordan Williams, lock/flanker Huw Taylor and fly-half Josh Lewis.

The management team are set to bring in a handful more players for 2018/19.

"We've got some irons in the fire," said the head coach. "But the big thing is that this group are a hell of a lot better than we were in September because they (the recruits) are only going to be the icing on the cake. This is going to be the core group."

The Dragons entertain Benetton Treviso in the Guinness PRO14 on Sunday with the aim of extending their unbeaten run at Rodney Parade.

They beat Bordeaux-Begles in the European Challenge Cup and Worcester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup before battling for a draw against PRO14 title hopefuls Glasgow last Friday.