SCARLETS v ULSTER: Josh Turnbull looking to maintain standards — in whatever position
GONE are the days when a couple of decent regional performances would book you in for a month's stay at the Vale of Glamorgan.
Just ask the members of the current Scarlets back row.
In any other year the Heineken Cup showings of Aaron Shingler and Josh Turnbull would have seen them preparing for the first Test of an autumn series.
Instead, they remain in Scarlets colours focusing on a match against Ulster which they hope will breathe life into a Pro12 campaign that has coughed and spluttered its way through the opening couple months of the season.
For sure, it is difficult to remember a back-row pool bursting with as much quality as Warren Gatland currently has at his disposal.
Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau all appeared during the Lions' Test series triumph against Australia in the summer, while there is also the considerable presence of Ryan Jones, a Lion of 2005 and triple Grand Slam winner, as well as Dragons skipper Andrew Coombs, who has been in fine form for the Men of Gwent this term.
"It is phenomenal, the depth that is there at the moment," said Turnbull, himself capped five times for his country.
"That back-five position is looking really healthy at the moment and you have got to be at the top of your game if you want to get into that squad.
"Performances have been there, but it is about maintaining those performances and being consistent with them whatever position you play in."
Turnbull made his last Wales appearance in the Millennium Stadium defeat to Argentina 12 months ago, where he was picked as blindside flanker before moving up to second row to fill in for the injured Alun Wyn Jones.
The 25-year-old, of course, is no stranger to versatility.
This season, in his seven starts, he has played at openside twice, in his favoured blindside spot twice and at No. 8 for the last three weeks in the absence of injured skipper Rob McCusker.
No player enjoys the Jack-of-all-trades tag, but a regular place in the starting XV more often than not provides the sweetener.
"Obviously, McCusker picked up a bump a few weeks ago and I have filled in at No. 8. I am happy to play anywhere in that back row and I have played in all three positions already this year," said the 25-year-old.
"I would like to think that wherever I have played my form has been good enough, the coaches have been happy, so it doesn't really matter what number I have on my back, I just try to keep my game to as high a standard as I can."
Turnbull will need to be at his best tomorrow if he goes up against a player who was crowned the Pro12's player of the year last season, Nick Williams.
After subdued stints at Munster and Aironi, the former Auckland No. 8 has found his home in Belfast and has become a big crowd favourite among the Ravenhill faithful.
The Scarlets, of course, know all about his destructive qualities.
Williams was outstanding in the league hammering in Belfast last season and again in the play-off semi-final.
And if he does return from injury after missing last week's win over the Blues, he will be the focal point for Ulster's attacking game once more.
"He showed us twice last year what he is capable of doing," admitted Turnbull.
"He is a big man and if you allow him to get across that advantage line and if you don't chop him low he will keep on going and keep on going.
"He is a big player for them along with Ruan Pienaar, who controls the game well.
"But we have got to concentrate on ourselves.
"We have been pretty tough on each other this week after what happened against Zebre. We haven't helped ourselves in the league so far.
"We want to put things right and there are boys itching for a game who haven't played for a while who want to put their mark out there.
"We showed what we are capable of against Harlequins and Racing Metro in Europe, but we have to back that up in the league. To put in a performance like we did in Zebre is not acceptable.
"Yes, there is a young group of players here, but a lot of us have been together for a long time now.
"A lot of us have grown up playing rugby together, the development stage is over.
"We want to show that we are capable of going into these big games, whether it is the Heineken or the Pro12 and show we are capable of doing something special.
"We have got a massive period coming up.
"After Ulster, it's the LV and then we have got three games away against Connacht, Leinster and Clermont.
"Then it's Clermont here and we're into back-to-back derbies against the Ospreys before Racing Metro, Harlequins and Munster in January.
"It is going to be a tough few months for us as a group, but we have got to show character and show we are capable of doing something special."