Former Leinster, Connacht and Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman has been appointed the new head coach of Newport Gwent Dragons. 

Jackman will take formal control next week as his predecessor Kingsley Jones moves on to work with the Welsh Rugby Union's Exiles programme. 

"It is a huge honour to join at such an exciting time," Jackman said.

"The region is a hot bed of Welsh rugby and to join at such a significant moment in time is a challenge I relish. I can't wait to get started and look forward to meeting the playing squad and the backroom team."

The RTÉ Rugby analyst's appointment coincides with a period of overhaul at the club. The Welsh Rugby Union is to take "operational control" of Newport Gwent Dragons on 1 July. 

This drastic move comes after years of under-achievement on the pitch and the region's long-term financial problems.

Newport Gwent Dragons have been the poorest performing Welsh region in the Pro12 in the past two seasons. This year, they finished second from bottom with Benetton Treviso climbing above them in the table on points difference.

They haven't finished in the top half of the Celtic League/Pro12 since 2004-05, which was only the second season of the region's existence.   

The WRU plan to change the region's name to 'The Dragons', dropping the Newport Gwent, and they are committed to keeping the club at Rodney Parade. 

"We are obviously at the beginning of a major period of transition off the pitch, but on it we will need to quickly get down to work and reward the faith and obvious passion of our supporters throughout the region," Jackman commented.