DAI Flanagan will wield the axe for the Dragons’ New Year’s Day derby with the Scarlets in a bid to ‘break the chain’.

The Rodney Parade club aim to start 2024 with a morale-boosting United Rugby Championship win after being humiliated by Cardiff in their last fixture of 2023.

The Dragons were thrashed 55-21 by their neighbours at the Arms Park with the Blue and Blacks having a bonus point inside the first quarter and scoring seven of their nine tries in the first half.

Flanagan and his squad have copped plenty of flak since the shocker in the capital and the head coach acknowledges the criticism is deserved.

The teams are announced at midday on Saturday but the Dragons won’t offer a shot at redemption to those that froze in Cardiff.

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

“It's an off day, but these off days happen every year [at the Dragons]. My job is to break up that pattern,” said the head coach, who took the reins a game into 2022/23.

“There was the Munster game [64-3] before I arrived, Glasgow last season [73-33], this game. We can't just go on doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes.

“My job is to break things up so that we break the chain. If I stuck with the same 23 players against the Scarlets I am sure we would get a reaction but it's not about that.

“There will be mass changes. My human side wants to give them the benefit of the doubt but I need to break the chain.

“You will see a young, refreshing Dragons team running out with lots of opportunity being given.”

The Dragons will be forced into one change with centre Steff Hughes out after suffering a concussion in Cardiff.

Wales hooker Elliot Dee remains sidelined with a rib problem but is targeting the European Challenge Cup game at Zebre Parma on January 13.

His Test teammate Aaron Wainwright is likely to survive the cull to retain his spot at number eight and will bring up a century of Dragons appearances, the first of which was at Cardiff in October 2017.