"We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas fixture list - one full of passion, commitment and pride" he said
"This is a hugely important period of the season and a defining block of rugby. The games between now and early January will no doubt dictate, define and determine where we stand in the Celtic League".
Sandwiched in between the Heineken Cup group matches, the fixture list has brought us three home games and a huge opportunity to climb up the Celtic League table - but first, we need to see off the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night and its all change in the Scarlets 22.
Barry Davies gets the nod at full back, while, having returned safely from Dubai sevens, Tal Selley joins Mark Jones on the wing. Dafydd James will skipper the side from 13 and re-forms our early season centre partnership alongside Regan King, who returns from an ankle injury. While Mike Hercus returns to the starting line-up to partner Dwayne Peel at half back.
Dorian Williams retains the number one jersey alongside Matthew Rees and Martyn Madden who gets his first start of the season at three. Chris Wyatt also gets his first start of the season, joining Inoke Afeaki in the second row, while Jon Mills is in at six in place of Scarlets skipper Simon Easterby who is rested following the trip to the Causeway Stadium at the weekend. While Gavin Thomas and Alix Popham look to do damage from the back row.
Elsewhere, new signing Craig Dunlea takes his seat on the bench for his first appearance in the Scarlets twenty-two and Dafydd Jones returns from injury alongside Vernon Cooper.
For the Dragons, Nathan Brew is welcomed straight back into the team following his recovery from a groin operation and starts on the wing replacing Richard Fussell who moves to the replacements bench. Kevin Morgan replaces Aled Thomas after recovering from his ankle injury while Hal Luscombe and Jon Bryant maintain their impressive centre partnership from the Munster match last weekend.
In the forwards Rhys Thomas comes in for Gethin Robinson who moves to the bench while in the back row Michael Owen comes in for the injured Richard Bryan and will captain the side.
Dragons:Kevin Morgan, Gareth Chapman, Hal Luscombe, Jon Bryant, Nathan Brew, Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper, Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Ian Gough, Luke Charteris, Rhys Oakley, Jamie Ringer, Michael Owen (c).
David Maddocks, Gethin Robinson, Peter Sidoli, Andrew Hall, Richard Fussell, Craig Warlow, Gareth Baber
Scarlets: Barry Davies; Mark Jones, Dafydd James (capt), Regan King, Tal Selley; Mike Hercus, Dwayne Peel; Dorian Williams, Matthew Rees, Martyn Madden, Inoke Afeaki, Chris Wyatt, Jon Mills, Gavin Thomas, Alix Popham.
Replacements: Craig Dunlea, Craig Hawkins, Vernon Cooper, Daf Jones, Clive Stuart-Smith, Gareth Bowen, Garan Evans.
Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU).