Josh Turnbull admits he is looking forward to locking horns with good friends, as Cardiff Blues welcome Scarlets to the Welsh capital on Friday (KO 7.35pm)
With plenty to play for in front of a packed Cardiff Arms Park, the Guinness PRO14 derby is set to be a thriller as both sides hope to strengthen their bid for a top-three finish in their respective Conferences.
Cardiff Blues welcome all Guinness Six Nations-winning squad members back into the matchday 23, while Scarlets also include eight of their Grand Slam-heroes.
Turnbull, who picked up his third Guinness Six Nations medal during the campaign, is a product of the Scarlets academy and believes the friendships brings an added spice to derby encounters.
“A lot of us are good friends with boys from other regions, and that’s no different to myself. I spent a lot of time with Ken Owens and Jake Ball throughout the Six Nations campaign,” said the 10-times capped international.
“It will be interesting come Friday, and the banter will be flowing during game-time I’m sure.
“Last week you had Samson Lee bigging himself up all week, and saying they’re going to come get us, so I gave him a friendly reminder of what happened last time!
“It’s all about that little bit of banter with the boys but when it will come to Friday night, the boys will be going at it hammer and tongs, and that’s what you want to be playing for.
“They’re good games to be involved in, and I love playing in these derby games. You can ask any player what games they want to be involved in, and they will always say the top European games and the derbies.
“Physicality wins those games. That’s what the derbies are built on and bragging rights are at stake.
“There are going to be boys going out there to prove a point, having had little involvement during the Six Nations, and there will also be boys wanting to perform well in order to put a marker down for the rest of the season.”
The utility forward was named man-of-the-match as Cardiff Blues sealed a bonus point win over the Llanelli-based region at Parc y Scarlets earlier in the season.
However, he insists both teams will be desperate to come away with the spoils, and expects the return of the international contingent to boost the sides.
“All the boys are looking forward to this game on Friday and as a group of players here at Cardiff Blues, we haven’t played together for a while.
“We have all the internationals coming back in and they’ll bring a confidence after winning the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
“It’s exciting times and we have four really tough games coming ahead. These will define our season, if we’re honest as a group.
“We’re in a strong position at the moment, but we have to come up with the goods on Friday.
“Earlier in the week I read that Wayne Pivac said that a win for either of these teams will do them the world of good when it comes to making the play-offs.
“We’re level on points with Connacht in that third-fourth spot, with Munster, Connacht and Ospreys to come.
“We’re taking one game at a time and hopefully we can do a repeat job from what we managed down at Parc y Scarlets.”
Tickets for Cardiff Blues v Scarlets are still available on a limited basis and can be purchased by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030