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Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

Coach Paul Turner parts with Newport Gwent Dragons

Former Dragons coach Paul Turner
Paul Turner was appointed by the Newport Gwent Dragons in 2005

Newport Gwent Dragons have announced that coach Paul Turner has left the Welsh region.

Turner was relieved of his duties on 28 January while the Dragons conducted "various investigations", with a disciplinary hearing expected.

But in a statement issued on Friday the Dragons said that Turner's employment had ceased "by mutual agreement", ending his six years in charge.

Assistant coach Darren Edwards will take over until the end of the season.

The statement went on to express the Dragons' thanks to Turner "for the work he has done in past years and to wish him all the very best in the future".

There are also comments attributed to Turner, saying: "I've enjoyed my six years at the Dragons and am immensely proud to have been involved with developing this region. I wish all the players and staff my best wishes for the remainder of the season."

Previously, Dragons team manager Robert Beale had confirmed that the investigation being carried out had nothing to do with their on-field performance.

The Dragons failed to win a Heineken Cup match - their first whitewash in the tournament - while they currently sit ninth out of 12 teams in the Magners League.


However, they did top their pool in the LV= Cup to book a semi-final at Gloucester.

Beale said: "It is solely a disciplinary matter... as far as I'm aware this action has nothing to do with performance on the pitch."

Turner took charge in 2005 and signed a two-year contract extension in December 2009 which should have kept him at Rodney Parade until 2012.

Although the Dragons have not revealed the reason for Turner's suspension before his departure, he has been involved in controversy in recent weeks.

Before the club announced his suspension, an apology from Turner appeared on the Dragons' website after he had criticised the Welsh Rugby Union earlier in January saying his star players had been put through tough conditioning checks.

He branded the move as a "disgrace" after claiming he specifically asked the WRU to leave out injury-plagued Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau.

Turner claimed Lydiate came back injured, although the WRU says he did not take part in the checks as he was already injured.

The website statement read: "Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner would like to apologise unequivocally both for the way in which this matter came into the public domain and his choice of words used in his interview with the Argus [newspaper].

"His comments were made in the heat of the moment following a briefing from his medical team regarding Danny Lydiate and were the result of his frustration and concern over the welfare of a player who has had a difficult history with injury.

"Mr Turner accepts that these are issues which would have been best dealt with directly with the WRU and not through the media."

Turner also had a confrontation with a reporter after being asked about his future as Dragons coach following the region's poor run.

He told the reporter to leave and was accused of being "threatening" in doing so.

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