Jonathan Davies set to lead the Scarlets
JONATHAN Davies has been handed the captain's armband as the Scarlets look to the inspirational British Lion to trigger a revival in their league fortunes in Edinburgh this evening (7.45).
Back-rower Rob McCusker has led the West Wales region for the opening three weeks of the Pro12 campaign, but it is his co-captain who will do the honours at Murrayfield.
A shining light with the Lions in Australia this summer, the Scarlets are hoping the Wales centre can provide the spark in regional colours after a mixed start to the season for last year's semi-finalists.
With two defeats from their opening three matches, there are no panic buttons being pressed in Llanelli just yet, but defeat for the Scarlets against a side currently propping up the rest will be another significant blow with European action just a fortnight away.
Head coach Simon Easterby has made five changes in personnel to his starting XV — some enforced, some squad rotation.
With Gareth Owen sidelined with a knee problem, Liam Williams — the Scarlets' best player in last weekend's 23-16 defeat to the Dragons — moves into his preferred No. 15 jersey with Nick Reynolds filling in on the wing.
A calf injury to Gareth Davies gives Rhodri Williams a chance to catch the eye at scrum-half, while up front, Emyr Phillips — one of the few successes to emerge from Wales's summer tour of Japan — gets an opportunity at hooker. There are also recalls for lock Joe Snyman and flanker Josh Turnbull.
McCusker, meanwhile, will make his 100th appearance for the region.
The match marks a quick return north of the border for Scotland flanker John Barclay, who makes his second appearance for his new side since his summer move from Glasgow.
"He has timed it nicely," added Easterby. "I thought he went very well against the Dragons, his legs tired a little as the game went on, but he will only get better and has been a good voice around the group. He has a lot of experience.
"It is a big few weeks for him to come up against potential Scottish players in the same position as him in the national side, but also for him to get some form, some game time and play some good rugby for us over the next three or four weeks.
"John wanted to come down to the Scarlets and prove himself in a different environment and still have the opportunity to press for international honours.
"If we can play well around him over the next couple of weeks, he puts himself back in the shop window for Scotland."