Jonathan Davies has praised the impact of a new breed of coaches as the Scarlets continue to enjoy an impressive season.
Davies made his first start in three months in the New Year’s Day win over the Dragons as the Scarlets jumped back up into second place in the Magners League standings.
The region’s success is in stark contrast to last term’s disappointing campaign that saw the Scarlets finish just one place off the bottom of the then 10-team table.
And with things looking up at the Parc-y-Scarlets, Davies has pointed to the impact of former players Mark Jones and Simon Easterby, who both stepped up to senior coaching roles this season.
Robin McBryde has also been singled out for praise, with his decision to combine his position as Wales forwards coach with a role under Nigel Davies in Llanelli bringing big rewards for the region.
“It’s been great having Simon and Mark coming in as coaches because a lot of us played with them and know the standards they set as players,” said Magners League Ambassador Davies.
“They’re bringing those standards with them as coaches and driving the players coming through. Some of the stuff they’ve done with individuals and with the team as well has been fantastic.
“You can speak openly with them both. They’re approachable and it always helps when you can talk about things in a relaxed environment and get to the bottom of where you need to go.”
Jones, Easterby and McBryde were all part of the Scarlets’ Celtic League winning season of 2004, an achievement Davies and the current crop of Scarlets would love to mirror this time around.
The highly-respected trio know what it takes to taste success on the big stage and Davies insists that their unwillingness to accept mediocrity is already having a major impact on the new breed of Scarlets.
“Maybe last year, if a couple of balls went down in training or we made a couple of errors, we thought ‘that’s fine, it won’t happen on Saturday’ but it evidently did,” added Davies.
“What’s been huge is that Robin’s brought in that discipline himself but also that the senior players have come in and done the same.
“Everyone gets on each others’ backs now. Whoever makes a mistake in training gets a hard time of it. It’s good because, when you set such high standards, you have to work that much harder to keep your standards up. That’s working at the moment.”
Scarlet stats: how Jones, Easterby and McBryde fared as Scarlets
Easterby played in 64 Magners League matches from the 2001/02 season until his retirement last year.
The Ireland back row scored two tries and made 58 starts.
McBryde featured in just 22 Celtic League matches between the 2001/02 campaign and the 2004/05 season, with his highest number of appearances in a single season coming in the championship winning year of 2003/04.
Injury ended Jones’ career just a single appearance shy of a half century.
The Wales wing played seven seasons of Celtic League rugby, scoring exactly 100 points courtesy of 20 tries.
The story so far: how Davies is faring in Llanelli
Davies has played six Magners League games so far this term, with the Scarlets winning four of those matches.
He scored a hat-trick against Connacht in Round 2 and has crossed for a total of six tries so far this term.
The 22-year-old has played 43 times in the Magners League since making his debut back in the 2007/08 season.
Davies has started 37 of those matches and has scored 16 tries.