The Celtic League champions have virtually surrendered that crown after slipping 17 points behind leaders Ospreys. Now their European ambitions are on the line against the Saints with nothing less than victory needed - for either side - to have a fighting chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.
"Looking back at what the club has achieved you would have to say that not reaching the last eight would not just be disappointing but deemed a huge failure," said Easterby. "The expectations put on us by both ourselves, the fans and the media is something we have to live up to. We always set out with Europe being the main aim of each season but for whatever reason we have not performed to our standards this year.
"We have at least brought ourselves back into contention with back-to-back wins over Glasgow. We have got a chance at qualification which is as much as we could have asked for after the losing the first two games. We expect to beat Northampton. It's as simple as that. And we know that victory over Northampton means we will have to go to Toulouse and win the group." Scarlets and Northampton's fortunes have mirrored each other this season. Following disastrous starts to their respective league campaigns, victories in Europe over Glasgow have galvanized both clubs' fortunes. Northampton have won four of their last five games, including a 23-21 triumph over Toulouse, while the Scarlets have lost just once in their last six. "We have been in similar positions all season," said Easterby. "They had a poor early season, like ourselves. They were low on confidence and not playing great. But they are now on the up and coming right back into form. They are still in this group. It's going to be a tough game. At Franklin's Gardens we were physically off the pace and came off second best in most areas. We have learned from that." The Scarlets are still sweating on the fitness of in-form centre Matthew Watkins, while Northampton have lost ex-All Black scrum-half Mark Robinson but have forwards Mark Soden and Robbie Morris back.
Llanelli Scarlets: G Evans; A Havili, TBC, S Finau, T Selley; G Bowen, D Peel; I Thomas, M Rees, J Davies, V Cooper, C Wyatt, S Easterby (capt), D Jones, G Thomas
Replacements: P John, A Gravelle, A Jones, A Powell, M Phillips, A Thomas, TBC
Northampton Saints: B Reihana; J Rudd, B Cohen, M Stcherbina, W Human; P Grayson, J Howard; C Budgen, S Thompson (capt), R Morris, G Seely, M Lord, A Blowers, M Soden, C Krige. Replacements: D Richmond, B Sturgess, D Browne, D Fox, B Jones, S Drahm, M Tucker
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.