WALES sevens regular Ben Roach says that Bernard Jackman's sacking scuppered his hopes of a permanent deal at the Dragons.

The flanker trained with the Rodney Parade region ahead of the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2017 and then, after impressing in the British & Irish Cup, earned a senior call-up because of a back row injury crisis.

Roach made his Dragons debut at Munster and went on to make nine appearances that season, including a festive derby start against the Ospreys.

He did not feature in 2018/19, when Jackman's reign ended after a year and a half at the helm.

The rapid back row forward returned to the region last season to play in the Celtic Cup along with wing Owen Jenkins, whose exploits in training earned a rapid senior call-up and then a full-time deal.

Roach is on a Welsh Rugby Union core sevens contract but is mulling over his options after the sport was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Western Telegraph:

"I've stepped up to plate in 15s before and I'd relish the opportunity to do it again," said the 26-year-old from Cardiff, who captained the inexperienced Dragons XV in the Celtic Cup last season.

"A couple of years ago, I played 13 games on the bounce for the Dragons, including in Europe.

"I was in very positive talks with the region but then the head coach moved on. That's just the way sport is sometimes."

Roach has established himself in the Wales squad – he has featured in 185 matches and played in the World Cup and Commonwealth Games - but the frequent travel involved in the sevens series means it will resume after domestic leagues, making club rugby an attractive option.

"I want to keep playing professional rugby," said Roach. "I'm only 26 so I've potentially got another nine years left of playing if all goes well, but that means looking after myself as a player financially as well as physically.

"I love sevens for all it's given me as a player and as a person, so I'm anxious to find out what the future holds.

"Now that I'm married and own a house, I've got more than just myself to consider.

"It is a tough situation for everyone. Those of us in the squad who don't live with our parents are finding it hard at the moment, particularly with the not knowing if we will be able to extend our contracts through the summer."

"Major League Rugby sounds exciting, and they've got a pretty short season that isn't too dissimilar to sevens," he continued. "It would be very cool to experience playing over there."

Western Telegraph:

Roach had a shoulder operation just before lockdown but is ready to return to action when the green light is given thanks to working out alongside a Wales sevens teammate who is also a former Dragon.

"In the last couple of weeks I've been partnering up with George Gasson," he said. "We both live in Caerphilly and because running on your own can be a bit tedious for rugby players, we've been meeting at various pitches around the area to do our running work.

"It's almost like having that team feeling again, even though it's just the two of us.

"With the added competitive element, you get more out of it too."