THE Dragons are in direct talks with their players in a bid to bring an end to the dispute over wage cuts.

The Professional Rugby Board, which represents the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions, had been in discussions with the Welsh Rugby Players Association about pay reductions.

A 25 per cent cut lasting three months was agreed in April but talks over a long-term agreement hit the buffers.

The result is that the Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues have now had to go it alone and thrash out settlements with their own squads.

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The Dragons are WRU-owned but players are dealing with the region’s hierarchy, led by chairman David Buttress.

They are in a consultation period with the hope that a deal can be struck long before the return to action in the Guinness PRO14 against the Ospreys in Swansea on Sunday, August 23.

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The Dragons’ playing budget was just shy of £5million before the coronavirus pandemic and the Argus understands that dramatic cuts are not needed.

That means that director of rugby Dean Ryan has been able to continue with his recruitment plans with former Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts nearing a move to Rodney Parade, while former Leicester prop Greg Bateman is also on their radar.