Scarlets coach Nigel Davies believes they have no margin for error in the hunt for a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off place with a trip to Cardiff Blues on Saturday the first of five crucial fixtures.
The Parc y Scarlets outfit sit two points off the play-off places in sixth following back-to-back home wins over Treviso and Connacht with seven sides fighting it out for a semi-final berth.
But Davies’ side have racked up only one win on the road all season, a 10-6 defeat of Newport Gwent Dragons, while the Blues will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at Rodney Parade to the same opposition.
It means everything is still to play for as the season enters the final straight and Davies knows his side must start with a win at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“We have five games left,” said Davies. “If we want to qualify for the top four we have to win all five, otherwise we have to rely on other people.
“On Saturday we are playing against a team we have to play twice and who are also going for a play-off place. It is a crucial game.
“From the outset all the regions would have said we would have wanted to qualify for the play-offs so this weekend is hugely important.”
With the Six Nations concluded the likes of Grand Slam winners Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams and Ken Owens are set to return for Scarlets this weekend.
“We will try to manage the players' reintroduction as sensibly as we can, but we really need them to front up for the remainder of the season, and having spoken to all the Scarlets players they are keen to do that,” he added.
“We are in competitions to win them, they are key players for us and it is a key part of the season.
“The really important thing for me is how positive this game should be.
“A lot of players are coming back from international rugby, three of the regions are vying for a top-four spot in one of the most competitive leagues in world rugby and two of our regions are still in European competition.
“We should be pleased where we all are.”