DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan has declared it’s ‘win at all costs’ in Sunday's bid to end the Cardiff derby hoodoo.

The Rodney Parade region could, perhaps should, have been going into the clash (kick-off 2.30pm) after a win against Edinburgh in their United Rugby Championship opener.

However, they let a commanding position slip and a 17-6 lead early in the second half turned into a 22-17 defeat.

Now they head into a tussle with the Blue and Blacks needing to end a year-long streak without success in Newport and an embarrassing run against their fiercest rivals.

Cardiff have won 15 games on the spin since the European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Rodney Parade in 2015.

South Wales Argus: Dragons boss Dai FlanaganDragons boss Dai Flanagan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“The disappointment is still raw. With how we started, we need to close those games off,” said Flanagan about the Edinburgh game.

“The hardest thing to do is change losses to wins, we are finding it difficult but it was just game one.

“We've got a great week to look forward to with the derby – this is win at all costs.

“People can try to cover things over and say that they are looking for a performance but ask anyone associated with the Dragons over recent years and performance doesn’t matter.

“It's win at all costs, but to win we need to play well. Cardiff are an impressive bunch who have got their own style of play under Matt Sherratt.

“It's a bit more direct with a bigger kicking game - they averaged 35 in pre-season and last weekend. That's a lot of kicking and they are doing that for a reason.”

South Wales Argus: The Dragons after their loss to Cardiff in the capital in 2022The Dragons after their loss to Cardiff in the capital in 2022 (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Flanagan was at the helm for last season’s defeats when the Dragons lost 31-14 in the capital after failing to make the most of the wind at their backs then they conceded at the death to lose 29-24 in Newport.

“I have only experienced the last two defeats and we were comparable with Cardiff, if not better than them, on both days but they went away with the five points from both games and we didn’t,” said the head coach.

“At Cardiff Arms Park we just lost concentration and they scored two quick tries, then it was the last minute at the contact area and penalty kick to touch that cost us at home.

“We need to be focused on those key moments, because they will come again this weekend.”

The Dragons are mulling over a rapid return for Wales blindside Dan Lydiate, who linked up with his new teammates at the start of this week after World Cup duty.

Tighthead Leon Brown is poised to feature after sitting out the Edinburgh game and will then join up the national squad for the Barbarians fixture along with Lydiate, Aaron Wainwright, Elliot Dee and Rio Dyer.

Full-back/fly-half Cai Evans has also been selected for that Principality Stadium money-spinner but will sit out the derby after a concussion ended his debut early.

That will either lead to Angus O’Brien shifting back to 15 with Will Reed at fly-half or Jordan Williams coming into the XV.

The teams are named at midday on Friday.