The Scarlets travel to the home of Glasgow Warriors on Friday evening (kick off 1935) for the first-ever RaboDirect PRO12 fixture in the new Scotstoun Stadium.
With the two teams neck and neck over their last six encounters with three wins a piece, there will be plenty at stake in the second round of the league competition with the Scarlets eager to back up their win at home at the weekend with one on the road.
The Scarlets know they have to improve on their away records in Scotland and after a convincing win at home against Leinster last weekend, there are just two changes to 23 that travel to Glasgow this weekend.
Welsh international first choice Rhys Priestland starts at outside half with a strong back-line ready to fire again as Jon Davies and Scott Williams pair in the centre partnership with last weekend try scorers Andy Fenby and George North on the two wings and Tavis Knoyle at scrum-half.
Up front captain no8 Rob McCusker leads his side alongside Johnathan Edwards and Aaron Shingler in the back row, the second row remains unchanged from last weekend with Richard Kelly and new signing George Earle; Matthew Rees comes in at hooker with Rhodri Jones and Deacon Manu in the front row.
Glasgow Warriors tripped up 10-18 at Ulster in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12. The Warriors lost their opening two games of the 2011/12 season but just one of their last nine matches against the Welsh regions.
The Scarlets defeated Leinster 45-20 at Parc y Scarlets last Saturday and are now unbeaten in their last four PRO12 encounters. Scarlets have lost on their last two visits to Scotland. Both clashes between the two sides last season were won by the home side on the day, whilst Scarlets have won just once in Glasgow on their last seven visits.
Scarlets team v Glasgow Warriors Friday 7th September 2012, Scotstoun Stadium kick off 1935:
15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 1 Rhodri Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Deacon Manu, 4 George Earle, 5 Richard Kelly, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Johnathan Edwards, 8 Rob McCusker (capt)
Replacements: Ken Owens, Phil John, Peter Edwards, Sione Timani, Kieran Murphy, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Adam Warren.
The Scarlets new Forwards Coach Danny Wilson said he was impressed with the early performance of the Scarlets pack against a strong Leinster side; but said with just one game under their belt, feet were firmly on the ground and there was still plenty to work on.
He said: “It was my first taste of what the boys could do in a competitive fixture against a Leinster pack made up of quality, experienced professionals and we were pleased with the performance – however it means nothing unless we back it up this weekend.
“With a level of consistency in our game up front, we can unleash our back line and we saw at the weekend how very potent it is. There’s some work to do with our scrum, but the line-out functioned well last weekend. We went into the game with a confidence and intent to put pressure on them up front and it went our way.
“There’s a very strong work ethic and ambition in this Scarlets group and the boys know that there’s plenty competition for places. We need to build continuity in our performance and there’s a lot of that reflected in our selection this weekend but we also need to rotate some players to ensure we keep building our depth and give opportunities across our squad.
“There’s a lot of rugby ahead of us so it’s important we build a strong squad – as opposed to just a team.”
Wilson said they had a big challenge ahead of them on Friday night in Scotland.
He said: “We’ve had a good look at the Warriors and their game last weekend, they were a very dogged side, and they’ll put a lot of pressure on in the contact area. We know we’ll have to be sharp this weekend – it’s going to be a tough fixture as their opening game in the new home and they’ll want to bounce back from their loss last weekend.
“We are under no illusion as to what we are facing – they were a very strong side last season and reached the semi-finals just ahead of us by a couple of points. But we're confident in what we can bring, the players are gelling well and know they have to back up what they achieved last weekend.”