THE Dragons have appointed their former prop Sam Hobbs as academy forwards coach.

The 31-year-old from Brecon previously worked part-time with the Rodney Parade region's youngsters and last season helped the under-18s win the WRU Regional Age-Grade Championship.

He will now work full-time at the Dragons and assist academy head coach Matt O'Brien.

After previously fitting in his time at Ystrad Mynach along with a job as a hub officer at Cardiff and Vale College, plus playing and training with Premiership champions Merthyr, Hobbs is relishing the chance to devote himself to the Dragons.

Free Press Series:

"I'm grateful for the opportunity and excited about such a good job because this is something that I always wanted to do after playing," said Hobbs, a Welsh Rugby Union level three coach.

"I went to university at UWIC and the University of South Wales and got a degree in coaching, while I coached age-grade teams when I was playing.

"Being able to just come here and focus solely on the academy is really beneficial and a lot easier.

"You know that you can get more contact time with the players and you can be in the building that bit longer to look at what the other coaches are doing and try and mirror that so that the guys are familiar with the terminology.

"Ultimately the job is about creating more Dragons players and if they are going to step up to the under-23s and the senior environments then we want them to be able to understand it and come out of their shell."

Hobbs is weighing up whether to keep playing after suffering a torn hamstring and ruptured knee ligaments with Merthyr last season.

The loosehead made 42 appearances for the Dragons after signing from Cardiff Blues in 2016 and has picked up plenty of dos, and no doubt lots of don'ts, from a raft of bosses.

Free Press Series:

"In my career I have been exposed to quite a lot of different coaches," said Hobbs, who made his Arms Park debut in 2009.

"At the Blues I had Dai Young, Justin Burnell, Gareth Baber, Phil Davies, Dale McIntosh, Paul John, Mark Hammett, Danny Wilson, Richard Hodges.

"Then coming here I had Kingsley Jones, Shaun Connor, Ceri Jones, Bernard Jackman, Hendre Marnitz, Barry Maddocks.

"I've had plenty of coaches in my career, so you try to piece bits together that you like and then put a little bit of your own personality and stamp on it.

"The biggest challenge, especially at age-grade, is to not throw so much at them, it has to be natural and stuff that they can handle for their growth.

"That's why I am really enjoying it here because we put a massive emphasis on growing players both on the field and off it, letting them make decisions and backing them. It's really enjoyable when that comes off."

Hobbs is now plotting how the Dragons young guns can build on their perfect campaign of eight wins against their regional rivals.

"The next group in are talented but we don't tend to put pressure on about results," he said.

"We are here to make future Dragons and want the next crop to push on again and not be afraid to put their own stamp on things.

"I have been challenged by (general manager of rugby) James Chapron, who has a business phrase about evolving 25 per cent every year to stay ahead of the competition.

"I am looking at how we can improve in terms of our delivery, how we play and what we do individually as coaches and players.

"The pleasing thing with 'Chappy' in his new role and Dean Ryan coming in, everyone is going to be aligned from the academy to the seniors."