With each side recording losses in their last Guinness PRO14 contests of the decade, Dragons and Ospreys will want to start the new year with their best foot forward.
Both teams are experiencing a poor run of form with Dragons picking up just one win from their last five league matches – the derby day win over Scarlets.
Ospreys haven’t picked up a win in the Guinness PRO14 since their 24-20 victory over Benetton at Liberty Stadium in October and were thrashed 44-0 by Scarlets last time out.
However, despite their recent torrid time on the pitch, Ospreys have a remarkable record against Dragons and will hope that plays to their advantage in this Conference A clash.
Kick-off: Rodney Parade | KO 15:00 (UK), Saturday 4 January
How to watch: |Live on Premier Sports 1, DAZN, pro14.tv
Players to watch out for: Taine Basham (Dragons), George North (Ospreys)
With hopes of a second derby day success in three games, Taine Basham will be the key man for Dean Ryan’s side.
In the loss against Cardiff Blues, Basham scored one try and set up another as the 20-year-old earned a well-deserved man of the match accolade and he will hope to kick on.
Ospreys have been in somewhat of an injury crisis in the past few weeks, but the return of George North will be something for fans to savour.
After picking up a hamstring injury in the World Cup semi-final against South Africa, the Wales winger is yet to make an appearance for his club side.
But his comeback surely boosts the team and could mark the start of a turnaround in Ospreys fortunes.
Key stat: Ospreys have lost just one of their last 14 Championships fixtures against Dragons since 2012 – losing 22-23 at Rodney Parade on 30 December 2018.
Dragons: Will Talbot-Davies, Jared Rosser, Tyler Morgan, Tom Griffiths, Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams, Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Joe Davies, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Harrison Keddie, Tavis Knoyle, Jacob Botica, Adam Warren
Ospreys: Cai Evans, George North, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Scott Williams, Luke Morgan, Luke Price, Aled Davies, Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Ma’afu Fia, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Morgan Morris
Replacements: Scott Otten, Darryl Marfo, Simon Gardiner, Dan Lydiate, Sam Cross, Shaun Venter, Marty McKenzie, Hanno Dirksen
Adam Warren’s late try sealed a dramatic victory for Dragons over Ospreys in an absorbing Welsh derby at Rodney Parade.
For large parts of the contest the visitors were the better side, with tries from George North and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler giving Ospreys the lead after three quarters of the contest.
But, after Leon Brown had scored in the first half, two tries in the final five minutes from Rio Dyer and then Warren gave Dragons only their second win over Ospreys in their last 15 Championship fixtures – and their fourth victory of the campaign.
The home side began the game impressively, defending strongly before breaking quickly through Jared Rosser’s run from deep in a move which led to Ospreys being forced back onto their own line.
After forcing a penalty, it looked like Sam Davies would kick the hosts into the lead but for being denied by the post.
Ospreys began to grow into the game during a scrappy period, turning over their opponents several times, and they registered the first score in the 20th minute when Scott Williams’ cool kick over the top set North free to dot down.
Luke Price could not add the conversion but Davies was this time successful with his penalty kick for the home side, after Ospreys were penalised for two infringements at the breakdown.
Price re-established the host’s five-point lead via his boot but, with just over five minutes to go before half-time, Leon Brown’s brilliant 30-metre run through the line levelled things before Davies converted to give Dragons the lead for the first time.
Shortly after the break, costly ill-discipline from Ospreys resulted in Davies extending the home lead further but Price pegged things back once more with a kick of his own – leaving the game in the balance with Dragons leading by just two.
And Ospreys were then ahead as they lifted their tempo to devastating effect, Thomas-Wheeler crossing under the posts after his side had gradually ground their way towards the Dragons line.
As the match entered the final quarter Dragons built up a head of steam and a series of good scrums inside the final ten minutes saw Ospreys pushed right back onto their own line.
Ross Moriarty popped up after the scrum before a moment of sheer magic from Davies sent an inch perfect kick to Dyer for the youngster to go over.
Davies could not convert though, leaving the score level at 18-18 but Dragons dramatically claimed the win in the final minutes when Warren’s charge down saw the hosts chase the ball on the break away before Warren himself dotted down.
Wales Sevens star Rio Dyer wasn’t even meant to be starting but a late calf injury to Ashton Hewitt meant he was named on the wing and he delivered a sensational performance to seize the opportunity.
The 20-year-old Welshman was a constant threat as he bulldozed his way through Ospreys’ defence on numerous occasions, made 93 metres in the match and, crucially, calmly crossed with five minutes to go to set the hosts on their way.
Where else but that match-winning score.
After crossing over brilliantly minutes earlier, the home side were rabid as they pressured Ospreys into submission – Warren starting and ending the move by first charging down the visiting kick before finally dotting down on the loose ball.