8:24am Wednesday 30th April 2014
HISTORY suggests that the chances are slim of there being smiles and songs on the Newport Gwent Dragons bus back from Llanelli on Friday night.
The Scarlets head into the encounter looking to break their derby duck in the RaboDirect Pro12 after being downed by the Dragons at Rodney Parade, doubled by the Ospreys and beaten by Cardiff Blues at the Millennium Stadium so far this season.
But the hosts, who did enjoy a home LV= Cup success against the Dragons in November, will fancy their chances of earning a victory that would secure sixth place in the table and a spot in next season's premier European tournament.
That's because the Dragons have proved to be awful travellers when heading west along the M4 to Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli.
They have not won an away encounter in Wales since shocking the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on October 2010 and it will be three seasons on the spin without a Welsh away derby win if they fail at Parc y Scarlets on Friday.
In fact, since the start of regional rugby the Dragons have won just 3 of 35 away derby fixtures in all competitions. They have also lost both 'home' fixtures at the Millennium Stadium, to the Scarlets in 2013 and to the Ospreys a fortnight ago.
They have won just once in Cardiff when Jason Forster captained them to a 25-13 success in November of 2003 and have a solitary success in Llanelli thanks to a 30-23 win at Stradey Park during the 2007 World Cup.
If the Dragons are to pull off a shock win this weekend then they will have to do so without lock Cory Hill, who has had surgery on a thumb injury, and back row forward Netani Talei, who injured his right ankle in the first half against the Ospreys.
Teenage centre Tyler Morgan, who made his Pro12 debut at the Millennium Stadium, is set to feature again while tighthead Dan Way, who has been out of action since January with a back injury, is in contention for the matchday squad.
Meanwhile, former Dragons forwards coach Danny Wilson is looking for the Scarlets to bounce back after a hugely disappointing 17-13 Judgement Day defeat to Cardiff Blues.
"The last thing we want to do is lose two derbies on the bounce. Our intention is to put things right," he said.
"We need to start well. We know we need to be on top of our game to get the result we definitely want.
"The derbies put a bit of added edge to the end of the season, especially with us looking to qualify for Europe."
Dragons' injury absentees: Lock Cory Hill (thumb), wing Matthew Pewtner (nose), centre Ashley Smith (foot), wing/centre Ross Wardle (knee), back row forward Netani Talei (ankle)
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