The Scarlets travel to Glasgow tomorrow evening (Friday 22nd April, Firhill, kick-off 8.05pm) for another big contest in their Magners League campaign.
Having kicked off strongly in the league this season, the Scarlets spent 12 consecutive weeks in the play-off zone in the league. The now 6th placed Scarlets need to secure points in their final two games of the season and will look to the experience of some of their senior players to lead their performance away in Glasgow.
Wales and Scarlets outside half Stephen Jones takes the helm in the pivotal role at 10, with a powerful and creative backline including Morgan Stoddart at full-back, George North and Scotland international Sean Lamont on the wing, Gareth Maule and Scott Williams in centre partnership and Tavis Knoyle starting again at scrum-half.
Scarlets starting XV v Glasgow 22/04/2011, Firhill kick-off 2005: Morgan Stoddart, George North, Gareth Maule, Scott Williams, Sean Lamont, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle, Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees (capt), Rhys Thomas, Lou Reed, Aaron Shingler, Rob McCusker, Johnathan Edwards, Ben Morgan.
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Simon Gardiner, Dominic Day, David Lyons, Martin Roberts, Rhys Priestland, Daniel Evans.
Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “We were disappointed with the final result last week against Munster, in many areas of the game we out-played and performed them but lacked that edge and winning mentality – which Munster have.
“It was a performance reflective of our season, with a lot of promise but we’re just not able to finish off tight encounters. We’ve created lots of scoring opportunities and played all the rugby – but we have to be more accurate and balance our performance with the right mentality to win.
“The structure’s good, and defensively since Europe we’ve been one of the top three performers in the league. There’s a lot of good stuff happening but we’re just not nailing those wins – it’s a big frustration to us and we have to put it right.
“We’ve been very hard on ourselves this week – we have to get results in our next two games and that is all that we can focus on. Europe is important to us and to maintain control of that we have to win our final games. We know that there’s pressure on but we have to deal with that and I’m expecting this team to go out there and perform.
“It’s a difficult place to play and Glasgow will play to their strengths and their home field. We’ve trained on a reduced size pitch this week and the side that wins the kicking battle and exerts the most pressure in that area will undoubtedly come out on top.”
Scottish international wing Sean Lamont said: “Last weekend was an opportunity gone begging – we beat ourselves more than everything else and it summed up our season. We’ve done a lot more this season and we are trying to play some great rugby which is positive, we now we have two tough games ahead of us and have to finish on a high.”
Lamont added that although he’s glad to go back to his roots this weekend, the game is significant in its own right regardless of being in Scotland. He said: “Obviously you know all the guys, for me every game is about winning whether against Scottish, Irish or Welsh for the Scarlets – playing the Scottish teams adds no any more significance.”
The Scarlets are in 6th position on 52 points after picking up a losing bonus point against Munster. One above them are Cardiff Blues on 56. The Dragons are eight points behind the Scarlets on 44 points in 7th after their victory over the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.
Glasgow Warriors have won only two of their last ten Magners League matches. The Warriors are without a victory in their last five matches against Welsh opponents in the Magners League. Scarlets have slipped to three defeats in their last four matches, and have lost five in a row away from home since their 21-16 win at Edinburgh on 8 January.
Scarlets ended a five game losing run against Glasgow with their 18-14 victory at Parc y Scarlets in round seven, but have not achieved a league double over the Scotsmen since season 2003/04.