THE Dragons will get a chance to make a strong first impression on incoming defence coach Filo Tiatia when he links up with his new club next week on a Judgement Day watching brief.

The former Ospreys and All Blacks back row forward is joining the Rodney Parade club next season to work under boss Dai Flanagan.

The Dragons have gone through the entire season without a specialist defence coach because of cost-cutting after the departure of Simon Cross to become head coach of Old Glory DC in Major League Rugby.

Tiatia, who has most recently been working as director of rugby at Rangitoto College in Auckland, will arrive this summer to get his teeth into the task.

However, the new coach will get an early glimpse of the squad in the build-up to the derby with the Scarlets at Cardiff City Stadium.

South Wales Argus: ARRIVAL: Filo Tiatia will have a first look at the Dragons squad next weekARRIVAL: Filo Tiatia will have a first look at the Dragons squad next week (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"Filo will be at the stadium, probably in with the fans I would imagine,” said head coach Flanagan, with Tiatia also able to watch his former side face Cardiff in the second game.

"He gets the chance to run his eye over the squad earlier [than planned], and I hope the squad show what they can do against the Scarlets.

“It’s a watching brief because we have a coaching staff in place, he will come and observe a couple sessions from the outside.

“He might jump in with me for a bit and will also come to the game on the outside. He will get to see some behaviours and areas of focus that I will task him with so that he can feedback to me.”

Flanagan has largely used players who will be at the club next season in the run-in; only replacements Sean Lonsdale and Sio Tomkinson were leavers in the loss to the Ospreys last time out.

The Dragons will know by matchday whether they have anything to play for in their United Rugby Championship finale.

They cannot catch the Scarlets so are condemned to being Wales’ worst side but they will watch Zebre Parma’s Friday night game at title-chasing Glasgow with interest.

The Italians need at least two match points to climb above Flanagan’s men, which is unlikely given that the fourth-placed Warriors want a five-point haul and a big winning margin to climb the seedings ahead of the play-offs.

Zebre are one point back on the Dragons but the URC placings are decided by wins before points difference with the Italians having just one – against the Sharks in round two – compared to the Rodney Parade club’s three.