DRAGONS boss Ceri Jones is hunting a game controller after the blow of losing Hallam Amos to Cardiff Blues.

The wing's move to the Arms Park was confirmed last week with the 24-year-old from Monmouthshire becoming the first Wales international to join a regional rival since Rhys Thomas joined the Scarlets in 2009.

The departure of Amos is undoubtedly a blow for the Dragons but it does mean that caretaker head coach Jones, who is in charge of retention and recruitment while the board decide who will permanently replace Bernard Jackman, has room in his budget with a fly-half on his wishlist.

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"I am working through a lot of contracts as we speak. There is lots going on and we have a couple of people lined up for recruitment as well," said the forwards coach, who has put his hat in the ring for top job.

"We are in the market and looking for and speaking to players of quality in a few positions.

"It's difficult regarding Hallam, he has been a really good servant for the club but we have other back three players of class.

"For us to get better as a group do we need really exciting players in the back three or players who are closer to the action and get more touches on the ball?

"Hallam is a great player but to influence our group we probably need more leaders who can control that game a bit more."

With the Dragons operating on a significantly smaller budget than their regional rivals, let alone clubs outside Wales, value for money is essential in World Cup year.

Lock Cory Hill, hooker Elliot Dee, back row forwards Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright and tighthead Leon Brown are in contention for Warren Gatland's squad for Japan 2019 while lock Brandon Nansen will hope for a Samoa call-up.

Jones is resigned to being without key figures for much of 2019/20.

"It's a World Cup year and we won't see the Welsh internationals for many games because they will be away for that period, then they will be managed for five weeks after coming back, then after that they will be back in for Six Nations," he said.

"We need to sign players who will be here week in, week out and we are looking for influential players who can lead us around the field and help us get better."

The Dragons suffered a 29-20 defeat to the Ospreys in Swansea on Saturday.

Tries by scrum-half Rhodri Williams and Amos earned a 17-10 half-time lead but Dan Evans' four tries ensured it was a home win at the Liberty Stadium.

“We had an opportunity and we didn’t take it, so I am disappointed," said Jones.

"We haven’t got the elusive away win that we wanted, so I am not a happy bunny.”

The Dragons don't play this weekend and return to action with a South African double-header against the Kings and Cheetahs.

l Report from the Liberty Stadium on pages 16&17