THE Dragons need to keep a lid on their emotions if they are to scupper the Ospreys’ United Rugby Championship play-off hopes, says boss Dai Flanagan.

The Rodney Parade club head west this afternoon (kick-off 3pm) hunting only a second win at the Stadium.

Their solitary triumph came in 2010 when inspired by a young Taulupe Faletau and last season was a chastening experience.

The Dragons lost their heads with a series of late hits on home fly-half Jack Walsh.

Tighthead prop Lloyd Fairbrother was lucky not to see yellow for the first offence early on, back rower Ross Moriarty was sin-binned before the break and centre Sio Tomkinson was red-carded for a horrendous high shot at the start of the second half.

South Wales Argus: YELLOW: Ross Moriarty was sin-binned for the Dragons at the Ospreys last seasonYELLOW: Ross Moriarty was sin-binned for the Dragons at the Ospreys last season (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Head coach Flanagan admitted they “overstepped the mark” last season and wants cool heads this afternoon.

“It will be a tough contest and they taught us a lesson down there last year,” said Flanagan. “That was a big learning curve – we went down there really emotional, lived on the edge and got punished for it.

“They were cool with Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate superb. They were calm under pressure and have the likes of Justin Tipuric, Jac Morgan, Owen Watkin who can keep level heads when the intensity goes up.

“The challenge is for Steff Hughes & Co to do that. We want to be physical in a derby but we have to be composed in critical moments.”

Nonetheless, the Dragons still have game-breakers that they want to let off the leash.

“The international boys are the ones that we can let go and tell them to be excited – we don’t want to pull Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham back.

“If we can bring the intensity and physicality that we had against Connacht and the Stormers, we can take massive optimism going there.

“Physically we are a good team – there aren’t many teams that are as powerful and quick as what we can put out.”

While the Dragons are attempting to avoid finishing bottom of the URC, the Ospreys are aiming to take their play-off bid to the final round.

Toby Booth’s side realistically need 10 points from 10 when finishing off against the Dragons and Cardiff if they are to make the top eight.

South Wales Argus: DELIGHT: Bradley Roberts celebrates scoring in the Dragons' win against the Ospreys in NovemberDELIGHT: Bradley Roberts celebrates scoring in the Dragons' win against the Ospreys in November (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The Ospreys endured a rare pointless encounter when beaten 20-5 at Rodney Parade in November but have comfortably been Wales’ best side in a season where budget cuts have shown.

“They have been impressive this year. They know their game plan and they have evolved through the year, with and without the ball,” said Flanagan..

“The Ospreys move the ball a lot more than they did at the start of the year when they knew their strength was their set piece and kicking game.

“Now they have the ability to change the point of attack and Owen Watkin is a great player for them in the middle with one of the best gain line guys in Welsh rugby outside him in Keiran Williams, who they use well.

“There is a steel that Mark [Jones, defence coach] has brought to them and they are further down the line than the team that came to Rodney Parade early in the season.

“They have won some tight games at home which we haven’t after being in front in the final quarter – they have converted them and we haven’t.”