EDDIE Butler says the Dragons need to be "merciless" and exploit an Ospreys side devoid of confidence in today's derby at Rodney Parade, writes Chris Kirwan.

The former Pontypool and Wales number eight will be in the commentary gantry for the Guinness PRO14 encounter in Newport, with the home side in the unusual position of being favourites.

Dean Ryan's men head into the game on the back of a stunning late win against the Scarlets and a tenacious performance when edged out by Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

The Ospreys, meanwhile, are bottom of Conference A and have had a season of turmoil. They have been hindered by injury, have axed head coach Allen Clarke and are fresh from a 44-0 humiliation against the Scarlets.

South Wales Argus:

"They are two clubs with contrasting fortunes, all to do with confidence," said Premier Sports commentator Butler.

"I suspect that training methods and facilities are of a par these days but the Dragons are in a good place and are mentally assured and together while the Ospreys are in a tailspin.

"But the good thing about the Dragons is that they are not in a position to take anybody lightly and they are not so far away from trouble, so they won't get above themselves.

"They have got to take advantage of the creative bubble that they are in, which is raising optimism and confidence, and they are up against a team very light on that.

"Of all teams, the Dragons will be aware of what it is like to be in that situation and they have to be merciless."

Butler won 16 caps and will watch five of his successors in the Wales back row – Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate and Sam Cross – take to the field at Rodney Parade.

However, it's an uncapped flanker from Talywain who has caught the eye of the Pooler great.

"When Taine Basham started to appear you realised that something special was brewing," said Butler. "He is not the finished article but he comes out of a great stable of back rowers.

"I managed to watch a few training sessions when he was in camp with Wales and he just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. He was (running as) one of the opposition players with a bib on but just kept getting in the way!

"Basham reads the game well and puts himself in harm's way – as a back rower you are two thirds of the way there if you do those things."

Butler is part of the Premier Sports team bringing live coverage of the Dragons versus Ospreys this afternoon (Premier Sports 1 from 2.30pm) with Ross Harris, Lauren Jenkins, Sean Holley, Philippa Tuttiett and Ian Gough.

Premier Sports, is the home of the Guinness PRO14 in the UK and is showing all 152 games from the Guinness PRO14 this season. Rugby fans can subscribe on Sky or the Premier Sports Player. Visit www.premiersports.com to sign up to see all the live action. Premier Sports customers can now enjoy an even bigger package of great live sports coverage for just £99 per year on Sky or £89 on the Premier Player including La Liga, Serie A, Scottish Cup football, Eredivisie, MLS, NASCAR and NHL.