THE Dragons have dropped Sam Davies for Sunday’s United Rugby Championship derby against the Ospreys – handing a first start to fly-half Will Reed.

The Rodney Parade region head to Swansea on the back of defeats to the Scarlets and Zebre when they led on the hour but failed to finish the job.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan has lamented a lack of control and Davies, who was yellow-carded and conceded a penalty try in Parma for kicking the ball out of an attacker’s hands, has paid the price.

He drops to the bench for his return to the in-form Ospreys, who are fully-loaded for the derby.

South Wales Argus: PROSPECT: Will Reed in action for Newport RFCPROSPECT: Will Reed in action for Newport RFC

Reed gets his first Dragons start after enjoying a superb season with Newport RFC, with his exploits for the Premiership Cup winners earning appearances off the bench in the URC clashes with the Bulls, Sharks and Zebre.

The 20-year-old will now go head-to-head with Wales international Gareth Anscombe in a daunting clash in Swansea.

“We've got to get the balance right of those that are developing and potentially look forward,” said Ryan at his Thursday press conference.

“I need to be a bit braver in looking forward in terms of players that are travelling with us.”

The Dragons, mindful of a six-day turnaround to their home derby with Cardiff, are still without Wales international forwards Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright.

Hooker Dee (calf) and lock Rowlands (shoulder) could return in Newport on Friday while a cautious approach has been taken with in-form centre Jack Dixon, who has been managing a foot injury.

He sits out the trip to the Ospreys and a lack of other midfield options leads to fly-half/full-back Josh Lewis starting at 12.

Ryan makes two other changes with Ollie Griffiths back from a groin injury at number eight while Gonzalo Bertranou gets the nod at scrum-half.

The Ospreys named a formidable 23 with George North starting at 13, while the tight five is strong with reinforcements on the bench.

The Dragons upset the odds when winning against the Scarlets in Llanelli last month but will need to be at their best to be competitive in Swansea.

Ospreys: Collins; Cuthbert, North, Watkin, Giles; Anscombe, Webb (captain); Smith, Lake, Francis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, W Griffiths, J Morgan, M Morris.

Replacements: Parry, G Thomas, Botha, Davies, Lydiate, Morgan-Williams, Myler, L Morgan.

Dragons: J Williams; Dyer, Warren, J Lewis, Rosser; Reed, Bertranou; Seiuli, T Davies, Coleman, J Davies, Carter, Keddie (captain), Basham, Griffiths.

Replacements: Benjamin, Reynolds, Doge, Taylor, Fry, L Jones, S Davies, Holmes.