Warren Gatland talks to front rowers Rhodri Jones and Ken Owens during training
Liam Williams, Ken Owens and Rhodri Jones are more than ready to make an impression for Wales this weekend according to a man who knows them better than most.
Scarlets boss Simon Easterby has seen the trio blossom for his region in recent times and he is convinced they will repeat that form on the big stage after being named in the starting line up to face Scotland on Saturday.
Williams, Owens and Jones are among six changes to the team Warren Gatland has chosen to complete the RBS 6 Nations campaign in Cardiff after they were named at full back, hooker and tight-head prop respectively.
All three men have featured off the bench for Wales in this year's tournament but this weekend is their first chance to prove their worth from the off and Easterby knows they won't disappoint.
"They will definitely step up," said Easterby, who has a seen a total of seven Scarlets selected in the matchday 23, with Jon Davies also starting and Jake Ball, Rhodri Williams and Rhys Priestland named among the replacements.
"I don't doubt that with Leigh Halfpenny's injury Liam will step in at 15 comfortably. He hasn't had as much game time with Wales as he would have liked in the autumn and in the Six Nations. It's very difficult when you're on the bench, especially when you're behind someone of Leigh's quality as you rarely get opportunities.
"He was our standout player early on in the season, along with Scott Williams. He'll step up with no issue. He's composed, he's a competitor and he's made for international rugby.
"Ken's probably been frustrated that his game time has been limited to periods off the bench. He can only do so much when he's given the opportunity to come on but, again, he's showed his qualities coming off the bench.
"He doesn't want to be recognised as an impact player and he's due an opportunity to start a game after the couple of appearances he has had have gone well."
Davies is the other Scarlet set for centre stage from the start after finally making his long-awaited return to the Test scene at Twickenham last weekend.
The Lions Test star played the full 80 minutes against England after a pectoral problem had seen him miss six straight internationals after the opening Dove Men Series clash with South Africa in early November.
And, while his return didn't result in victory at RFU HQ, Easterby believes the game time he got under his belt will have been a big help ahead of the final fixture with the Scots.
"Jon's gone from playing 60 minutes against Munster and 40 against London Irish to an international so it's been a fairly impressive response from him to play at that level," added Easterby.
"It was a fairly intense game, with a high tempo, and a lot of the players were blowing as the game wore on so I thought Jon did really well. He'll have benefited from that game time and he'll be sharper this weekend when he takes on Scotland."
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
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