The Dragons concluded a disappointing season with a 32-15 derby defeat against Scarlets on Judgement Day at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Tries from Kemsley Mathias, Dan Davis and two for Tomi Lewis earned the west Wales side a bonus-point victory and revenge for their 13-12 defeat at Rodney Parade on New Year's Day.

Replacement Sio Tomkinson crossed twice late on in his farewell appearance for the Dragons, but it was not enough to prevent a 15th defeat in 18 United Rugby Championship matches for Dai Flanagan’s men.

Scarlets and Dragons started the day 14th and 15th respectively in the URC and the Rodney Parade region knew that the Welsh wooden spoon was theirs.

They were at least spared the ignominy of becoming the first Welsh region to finish bottom of the league – in 20 years of regional rugby – following Zebre’s loss to Glasgow on Friday night.

Flanagan, who named his team 48 hours early during the week, had to do without Wales hooker Elliot Dee due to an ankle injury. He was replaced by Brodie Coghlan as one of four changes from the side that lost to Ospreys last time out.

Wales Under-20s duo Ryan Woodman and Joe Westwood started, while scrum-half Rhodri Williams took over the captaincy.

Flanker Woodman was named in the back row, alongside Wales duo Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright, while centre Westwood lined up with Aneurin Owen, who made his 50th Dragons appearance.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel made two changes to the team that defeated Zebre in their last outing, with Wales fly-half Sam Costelow and Samoa lock Sam Lousi returning to the starting XV.

Lousi made a big impact early on with a thumping high tackle on Rhodri Jones to allow Will Reed to open the scoring with a straightforward penalty in the ninth minute.   

Costelow levelled it up at 3-3 after a quarter of an hour with another penalty following some sloppy play by Rio Dyer, who knocked on and then tried to play the ball on the ground.

That was a bit of a scuffed effort, and the Scarlets No 10 hit another penalty wide of the posts five minutes later after Chris Hollis was penalised for coming in from the side at the breakdown.

A quick break by Costelow almost put Lewis in for the first try of the game, but the wing couldn’t quite hold on with the corner in sight.

The Scarlets didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough, however, as Mathias marked his 50th appearance with a try when he was bulldozed over the line from a driving lineout and Costelow added the extras to make it 10-3 after half an hour.

Another brutal high tackle, this time from Scarlets 12 Eddie James on his opposite number Owen, saw James sent to the sin-bin for the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Rather than cut the deficit to 10-6, the Men of Gwent kicked to the corner but they couldn’t find a way past the 14 men in red.

Dyer almost scored in the corner after taking a slightly over-hit kick from replacement Steff Hughes – on for his 100th URC appearance – but the wing was tackled into touch before he could cross.

And, two minutes before the break, the depleted Scarlets landed a sucker punch when Davis finished off a rapid length-of-the-field counter-attack and Ioan Lloyd – on for the injured Costelow – converted to give his side a commanding 17-3 half-time lead.

Dan Lydiate replaced a limping Wainwright for the second half, while Hughes stayed on in place of Owen.

And it went from bad to worse for the Dragons within four minutes of the restart as Lewis intercepted an attempted pass by Dyer and raced over for the third Scarlets try, before Costelow converted to put them out of sight at 24-3.

Hollis almost went over with a swift response at the other end, but he was just held up short by the resolute Scarlets defence.

And Lewis soon grabbed his second try of the match, earning his side a bonus point, in the 54th minute.

Costelow missed the conversion, and there was more for the long-suffering Dragons fans to cheer soon afterwards when replacement Tomkinson was sent over by Ewan Rosser for a consolation try in the corner.

That provided a spark for the closing stages, with Westwood twice going close to adding another try before Tomkinson dived over in the corner once more and Reed nailed the conversion from the touchline. But it was too little, too late for the Dragons.

Scarlets: Ioan Nicholas; Tomi Lewis, Johnny Williams, Eddie James, Ryan Conbeer; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies; Kemsley Mathias, Ryan Elias (capt), Harri O’Connor, Alex Craig, Sam Lousi, Taine Plumtree, Dan Davis, Carwyn Tuipulotu.

Replacements: Shaun Evans, Wyn Jones, Sam Wainwright, Morgan Jones, Jarrod Taylor, Kieran Hardy, Ioan Lloyd, Macs Page

Dragons: Ewan Rosser; Rio Dyer, Joe Westwood, Aneurin Owen, Chris Hollis; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (capt); Rhodri Jones, Brodie Coghlan, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Ryan Woodman, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: James Benjamin, Rodrigo Martinez, Dmitri Arhip, George Nott, Dan Lydiate, Che Hope, Steff Hughes, Sio Tomkinson.

Scorers: Scarlets – Tries – Mathias, Davies, Lewis (2); Cons – Costelow (2), Lloyd; Pens – Costelow (2). Dragons – Tries – Tomkinson (2); Cons – Reed; Pens – Reed

Referee: Craig Evans