DERBY hero Jared Rosser, from Abersychan, believes the Dragons’ strong festive period against Welsh rivals can be a launchpad to turn around the region’s fortunes in 2019, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade side ended their 23-game Guinness PRO14 derby losing streak with a thrilling 23-20 victory against the Ospreys on Sunday.

That came hot on the heels of a battling display against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park when, despite playing for an hour with 14 men after a yellow card for Zane Kirchner and a red for Lloyd Fairbrother, it took a Gareth Anscombe penalty with the final kick for the hosts to edge a 19-16 success.

The Dragons finish the block by tackling the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm) and will want to carry on their fine form.

It has been a tough first half of the season despite the region already doubling their paltry record of two league wins from 2017/18.

Underwhelming performances led to the sacking of defence coach Hendre Marnitz in November then head coach Bernard Jackman at the start of last month.

“It’s massive for the team. It’s been a tough couple of weeks back at Ystrad Mynach because of the decisions that have been made,” said winger Rosser.

“We knew that we had to stick together as a team and go into every game as one. I don’t think that much has changed, we just knew the task at hand, these three derby games were our biggest of the season.

“We knew that if we perform here in these games then it can carry us through to the end of the season.

“Derbies are like no other games, it’s going to be gritty so the belief, aggression and everything else has to be top level.”

The 20-year-old speedster was a key figure in the win against the Ospreys, scoring a sensational try in the first half after chasing a lost cause.

Rhodri Williams’ clearance kick looked to be drifting towards touch but the bounce was cruel on the visiting duo of Luke Morgan and Dan Evans and kind to Rosser.

“I had the luck of the bounce and I was just happy I was there to collect it,” said Rosser, who also crossed in the home derby against Cardiff Blues in October.

“Defences are so good these days that often the bad kicks or those that aren’t so scripted are the ones that can cause a bit of damage. It’s just important to chase every kick as a winger.”

The Dragons now turn their attention to finishing the derby period in fine fashion against a Scarlets side smarting from defeats to the Ospreys and Cardiff Blues.

Wayne Pivac’s side were smashed by the Blues 34-5 in Llanelli – ending a 26-match unbeaten run in the league on home soil – and the 2017 champions are struggling for form.

Nonetheless, the Dragons haven’t beaten the Scarlets in the PRO14 since September, 2013 and last season were demolished 47-13 out west.

Rosser said: “It’s a massive task, we were on the wrong end of the scoreboard last season so know about that, but we can take a lot of confidence from the Ospreys game.

“We are in a lot better place than last season. We are tight as a group and are all on the same page with regards to defence and attack.

“They are coming off a defeat so will be well up for it.”