DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan has resisted the temptation to stick with the blueprint that earned success on their last Italian trip after telling his players to open up their game against Zebre.

The Rodney Parade region attempt to end a seven-game losing streak in all competitions when they take to the field in Parma this evening (kick-off 5.15pm).

The Dragons' last success was against Glasgow on December 5, which came a week after they had triumphed with an excellent display at Benetton.

They adopted a pragmatic approach in Treviso with half-backs Rhodri Williams and Sam Davies pinning back their hosts.

While the Dragons won't be care-free in Parma, and will still need to play for territory, they want to avoid an arm wrestle with a hefty Zebre pack.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan has picked a mobile side with loosehead Greg Bateman, hooker Ellis Shipp and lock Joe Maksymiw getting the nod in the tight five.

Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou earns a first start while the Dragons have stuck with livewire Jordan Williams at full-back rather than going with the kicking option of Josh Lewis that served them well in Treviso.

After losing to Connacht and Leinster in heavy home conditions, Ryan is pleased to see a good weather forecast for the north of Italy.

"There is no doubt we have got to play and we hope conditions will be firmer under foot," he said.

"You only have to watch Zebre's game against the Ospreys last week to know that they are incredibly physical.

"We've got to make sure we get width to our game and open it up a little bit or we are in an arm wrestle."

TALENT: Aneurin Owen on the attack in his first Dragons start against Leinster

TALENT: Aneurin Owen on the attack in his first Dragons start against Leinster

Ball-playing centre Aneurin Owen gets a second successive start and though he wears 13, the 20-year-old from Newport will be an influence outside fly-half Davies in attack.

The Dragons will look to get their rapid back three of Jordan Williams, Ashton Hewitt and Jonah Holmes on the run.

"When we have been at home we have struggled to play on that pitch," said Ryan. "There have been times where we haven't necessarily got the width on our game and if we have then we have been reliant on Sam.

"We all knew that Aneurin could bring a different development to our game in terms of passing but there was no point in just throwing in another youngster. It had to be right for Aneurin and there are too many stories of them coming in and going back out again.

"Having a balance to midfield is important because there is definitely some A to B that we have to do well.

"Hopefully at Zebre there will be opportunities to get the ball a little bit wider and more fluid in our game.

"We train on 3G and our game looks like we have some width until we put it on Rodney Parade. Having a balance to how we approach midfield is crucial."

Ryan makes five changes with Bertranou, Bateman, Shipp and Maksymiw coming in along with back row forward Harri Keddie, who captains the side on his return from a head injury.

Former Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts is among the replacements after being on paternity leave for the loss against Leinster.

There is plenty of experience next to him on the bench in the shape of Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Joe Davies, Dan Baker, Rhodri Williams and Josh Lewis.

Zebre are without 13 players because of Six Nations duty.

Zebre: M Biondelli; P Bruno, T Boni (captain), E Lucchin, G Di Giulio; P Pescetto, M Violi; D Rimpelli, O Fabiani, E Bello, S Ortis, I Nagle, L Masselli, P Leavasa, R Giammarioli.

Reps: M Ceciliani, P Buonfiglio, M Nocera, M Kearney, J Tuivaiti, N Casilio, A Rizzi, J Elliott.

Dragons: J Williams, J Holmes, A Owen, J Dixon, A Hewitt, S Davies, G Bertranou, G Bateman, E Shipp, L Fairbrother, B Carter, J Maksymiw, H Keddie (captain), B Fry, H Taylor.

Reps: R Hibbard, J Reynolds, A Jarvis, J Davies, D Baker, R Williams, J Lewis, J Roberts.