DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan continues to play the long game rather than chase a hat-trick of Rodney Parade derby wins.

The director of rugby has made 10 changes to the XV that took to the Liberty Stadium field in the 20-20 draw against the Ospreys for this evening's clash with the Scarlets (kick-off 5.15pm).

The visitors head east from Llanelli with a strong side, keen to at least put a smidgen of pressure on Munster with a bonus-point win in the tussle for the final semi-final spot in the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14.

Ryan, meanwhile, has not gone fully-loaded in either of the derbies that bring an end to the league campaign.

TEAM NEWS: Dragons bring back Wales stars for Scarlets derby

With a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Bristol looming on Friday, September 18, chances have been given in Swansea and Newport.

The Dragons beat the Scarlets and the Ospreys on home soil over the festive period but are big underdogs for today’s fixture.

Nonetheless, there are still a number of fascinating head-to-heads…

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Two contenders for a spot in the Wales squad as third scrum-half to go along with Rhys Webb and Gareth Davies.

Williams was a waterboy at the Liberty Stadium but returns to captain the Dragons.

His management will be key alongside Sam Davies as Ryan’s men attempt to dramatically improve their kicking game, while defence coach Simon Cross demands a lot from his 9s in terms of covering ground.

Williams sniped over for a try in the December meeting but Hardy is likely to profit from a more solid platform up front in attack.

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Hewitt changes wings – well, wearing 11 rather than 14 suggests he will – after crossing twice at the Liberty Stadium.

The speedster produced two terrific finishes in Swansea, having too much power for Olly Cracknell and then racing over smartly at the death for a draw despite Justin Tipuric’s best efforts.

Hewitt looked sharp and will be keen to impress against fellow Wales hopeful Steff Evans, who was impressive against Cardiff Blues.

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Dee was held back last weekend but starts against the man he has frequently backed up for Wales.

The Dragons lineout faltered last week so Dee will look to spearhead an improvement while he will also have to show his leadership in a very inexperienced front row that is up against proven Test quality.

The 26-year-old from Newbridge will have to be a talisman against the Scarlets and will need to be careful against the visitors breakdown threats when carrying.

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Two promising Dragons props face a huge test. A daunting prospect but also a huge opportunity.

Reynolds was impressive against Benetton in March and has the chance to push for plenty of rugby in the coming campaign given the age of his loosehead rivals.

Coleman is in rather than Lloyd Fairbrother and will be keen to show that he has improved dramatically from his 2018 debut against the Scarlets at Judgement Day, when he came on for the struggling Dan Suter and was promptly sin-binned.

The tight five selections are a worry with the Dragons needing to avoid backing up penalties that march them towards their corner.

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Keddie returns with a big chance to stake a claim for the Bears quarter-final.

He will be up against Tongan international Kalamafoni, who arrived in Llanelli after being a big ball carrier for Gloucester and Leicester in the notoriously attritional Premiership.

The abrasive blindside/number eight from Llanvaches is almost the Dragons’ forgotten man such are their back row riches and needs to respond after up-and-coming Ben Fry impressed at the Ospreys.

Wainwright, Basham and Moriarty are in pole position for Ashton Gate but Keddie can give food for thought by carrying hard and doing the hard graft alongside two explosive flankers.


Dragons: W Talbot-Davies; J Rosser, N Tompkins, A Warren, A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (captain); J Reynolds, E Dee, C Coleman, M Williams, M Screech, A Wainwright, T Basham, H Keddie. Replacements: E Shipp, C Maguire, L Brown, J Maksymiw, H Taylor, L Baldwin, A Robson, J Dixon.

Scarlets: A O’Brien; J McNicholl, S Hughes, J Williams, S Evans; D Jones, K Hardy, W Jones, K Owens (captain), S Lee, J Ball, L Rawlins, E Kennedy, J Davies, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: R Elias, P Price, J Sebastian, J Helps, J Macleod, D Blacker, P Asquith, T Rogers.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)