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Preview: Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby admits his side have been left in no doubt as to the importance of tasting victory against Welsh rivals Newport Gwent Dragons in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Scarlets have won their last ten fixtures against Dragons in the RaboDirect PRO12 since Dragons were victorious 15-13 at Rodney Parade on New Year’s Day 2008.

The Dragons are going for a third successive victory at Rodney Parade in the competition for the first time since April 2011 but the Men from Gwent lost all six PRO12 encounters last season against fellow Welsh Regions.

Scarlets have won five of their last six contests against fellow Welsh regions in all competitions and Easterby hopes his side will rise to the occasion again.

“We want to uphold our strong Welsh derby record and these players know how vital it is to us to get a good result at Rodney Parade,” he said.

“They also are fully aware of the challenge that poses us with in front of a vocal home support in Newport.

“The derbies always have an extra edge to them and with Lyn (Jones) and Kingsley (Jones) on board in Newport now we know how well-prepared and up for this game their players will be.

“It'll be a high intensity and physical game and the Scarlets are looking forward to the contest.

“It's great to have the added motivation of a Welsh derby so early in the season. Hopefully with decent conditions, it'll be a good night and a good platform for Welsh regional rugby.”

Scarlets’ 26-10 home win over Treviso on Saturday ended a three-game losing run while Newport Gwent Dragons’ last five matches have all been won by the home side on the day.

There is a first start of the season for British & lrish Lions centre Jonathan Davies, who is paired with fellow Welsh international Scott Williams.

Dragons also have their Lion on parade with Toby Faletau starting at No.8 and flanker Lewis Evans is desperate for his side to pick up their second win of the season.

“We like to test ourselves against our Welsh counterparts as its good to see where we are and to also try and get rid of the fourth region tag. I think that this game is massive for us to keep developing,” he said.

"Now we are at home we want to make Rodney Parade a fortress and we just need to keep going in the right direction, with Lyn steering us.

"Lyn's biggest thing here is changing the mindset of players, you could see that when we played Ulster, but last season that winning mentality wasn't here and Lyn has come here and changed my mindset along with the youngsters like Jack [Dixon] and has had an immediate impact as we have beaten one of the top sides in Europe."

At Rodney Parade, 7.15pm.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 99th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Ian Davies, Jon Mason (both WRU)

Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)

TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)

LIVE on BBC Wales

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