DAN Baker will make his first Dragons start against his former Ospreys teammates in the Rainbow Cup on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).

The strong-running number eight joined the region in February on a deal until the end of the season and this week it was announced he has earned another year at Rodney Parade.

Baker has made six appearances off the bench but will start in Newport in a side that is captained by Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright.

The 28-year-old left the Ospreys last summer and spent the first half of the season in France's second tier with Stade Montois.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan believes Baker presents him with a different sort of carrying option depending on conditions.

Dragons number eight Dan Baker

Dragons number eight Dan Baker

"We have been really pleased with how he has fitted in here," he said. "We have got a lot of similar back rowers, very fast around the field, and we just wanted something that is a little bit more direct.

"Dan has been that for us and he gives us a bit more choice of how we choose to play the game. At times this year he has been great on getting us back on the front foot."

Ryan makes six changes to the XV edged out 17-16 by Cardiff Blues with Baker, flanker Ollie Griffiths, lock Ben Carter and loosehead Greg Bateman coming into the pack.

Jack Dixon replaced Jamie Roberts in midfield while Josh Lewis gets the nod at full-back, with the Dragons opting for six forwards and two backs on the bench.

Richard Hibbard is back from a hand injury to cover for on-loan Scarlets hooker Taylor Davies, who has recovered from illness that forced him off early in the second half at the Arms Park.

Dragons: J Lewis; J Holmes, J Dixon, A Owen, R Dyer; S Davies, G Bertranou; G Bateman, T Davies, L Brown, J Davies, B Carter, A Wainwright (captain), O Griffiths, D Baker.

Replacements: R Hibbard, J Reynolds, C Coleman, J Maksymiw, H Taylor, T Basham, D Babos, I Davies.