Stephen Jones is back to his best form, claims Scarlets coach Nigel Davies.
THE Scarlets head to the Stoop hoping to turn the tables on Harlequins and in the process improve their ranking for next season's Heineken Cup.
Nigel Davies's side began this season's European campaign against Dean Richards' outfit at Stradey Park with a 22-29 defeat and followed that up with consecutive defeats to Stade Francais and Ulster. Their luck continued to desert them when they could only muster a draw against Ulster at Parc y Scarlets but they turned the form book inside out last weekend with a comfortable victory over French big spenders Stade Francais.
Outside half Stephen Jones pulled the strings perfectly from behind the scrum in a performance which had Davies claiming his star was playing some of the best rugby of his career.
After last week's encouraging team performance, Jones has warned Quins that the Welsh region are hoping to continue to rebuild their European credentials.
Jones said: "Although the Heineken Cup is over for us this season, our ambitions are to keep going forward as a side. We need to keep on gathering momentum and improving our performances.
"We have a tough game against Harlequins before refocusing on the Celtic competition, and, while it's all about performing well now, it is also important to secure points for the ERC European rankings for next year.
"As for the match on Saturday in London, when you see the Scarlets play the type of game that we played against Stade last weekend - and which we know we can do and have done in the past, though probably didn't do last year - I think we have the ability to win."
This weekend's Scarlets team sees scrum-half Lee Williams keep his place on the wing where he played last week due to back-three injuries. Ceiron Thomas remains at full-back and, on the bench, there are recalls for lock Scott MacLeod, centre Gavin Evans and full-back Morgan Stoddart.
Stephen Jones admitted that a home European defeat to Quins at Stradey Park in October had had a negative effect on the Scarlets' season.
He said: "Going back to our first game against the Quins earlier in the tournament we were outstanding in the first half and probably should have won a bonus point by half-time. But we didn't achieve that and the second half really knocked us. It took us a long time to recover so hopefully we'll see a full 80-minute performance this time.
"We did Quins a favour by beating Stade last weekend but it was always about us in that game and we would like to think we've re-established some European credentials."
It was the Scarlets' debut European win at their new home at Parc y Scarlets and Jones believes it will prove only the first of many.
"We seem to have built up something nice here in this stadium and it feels like home now. Winning here was definitely good for us, good for the fans and good for the future. We have to make sure people are keen to come here and if we keep playing like that there's no reason why we shouldn't continue winning.
"We've not given our fans much to cheer about in the last 18 months so we are pleased for them with this important result. From our perspective, things don't happen straight away so it's with moments like this victory in the Heineken Cup against a top team that you create more history for the club.
"Because not only are we are very happy with the victory, but also our performance was good. The challenge for us was to sustain the pressure for a full 80 minutes and we managed that.
"We probably showed more enthusiasm and hunger than them, the boys believed in themselves and were outstanding."
Wales flanker Dafydd Jones replaces the injured Johnathan Edwards, who broke his arm in the 31-17 win over Stade Français last Sunday, as the only enforced change in the Scarlets line-up.
Scarlets 15 Ceiron Thomas, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Regan King, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Lee Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Martin Roberts; 1 Phil John, 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Deacon Manu, 4 Vernon Cooper, 5 Dominic Day, 6 Simon Easterby (c), 7 Dafydd Jones, 8 David Lyons.
Reps - 16 Ken Owens, 17 Iestyn Thomas, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Gavin Cattle, 21 Gavin Evans, 22 Morgan Stoddart.
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.