DAI Flanagan admits the Scarlets will be ‘licking their lips’ at the prospect of playing the Dragons after their Boxing Day shocker.

The two Welsh strugglers meet at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Day with both bosses feeling the heat.

The Scarlets were beaten 25-11 by the Ospreys in Llanelli on Tuesday after the Dragons were humiliated 55-21 by Cardiff at the Arms Park, conceding seven of nine tries in the first half.

Flanagan’s men prop up the United Rugby Championship with just one win from eight games while the 14th-placed Scarlets are just five points ahead of them after having just two successes.

Dwayne Peel is under pressure after his side also suffered a home defeat to Georgian minnows Black Lion in the Challenge Cup but the Dragons’ nine-try collapse in the capital means the visitors will start as favourites in Newport.

South Wales Argus: DOWNED: Dragons flanker Taine Basham was bumped off by Cardiff centre Ben ThomasDOWNED: Dragons flanker Taine Basham was bumped off by Cardiff centre Ben Thomas (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“If I am the Scarlets then I am licking my lips to play against us,” admitted Flanagan after the horror show in Cardiff. “Put some pressure on and the Dragons crack.

“Our performances in Europe were really good and we were comfortable but we didn’t have half of the pressure and intensity that Cardiff put on us.

“We cracked and we have to figure out why that happens in those stressful times, especially on artificial pitches.

“Glasgow away was difficult last year [when thrashed 73-33 in the Challenge Cup last 16] and when teams get their tails up we can’t adjust and stay in the contests. We’ve got to sort it out.”

The Dragons will be forced into one change after captain and centre Steff Hughes went off with a concussion but Flanagan is likely to rip up the XV after the shocking performance.

While the game was gone, the bench made an impact with fly-half Will Reed, flanker Dan Lydiate, tighthead Leon Brown, scrum-half Dane Blacker and wing/centre Jared Rosser all pushing for starts.

The Dragons coaching team must now dissect their Arms Park hammering and put in some quick fixes for the clash with the Scarlets.

“It looked like we froze,” said Flanagan. “We were drifting when we should have blitzed, because drifting is easy, and were diving into things when we shouldn’t have. We all froze together.”

The Dragons have lost 17 games on the spin to Cardiff but have fared better against the Scarlets, who they beat at Principality Stadium at the end of last season.