This will be my first experience of the West Wales Derby and it is one I am really looking forward to, despite the fixture being moved to Parc y Scarlets.
This is obviously a reverse fixture from what was intended. It is something out of our control and it is disappointing that we had to move out of the Liberty Stadium for this game.
Ultimately, we were told the grass was dying on the pitch and a decision had to be taken to move the fixture so the pitch could be re-laid at the Liberty for the rest of the season.
But a derby is still a derby.
I would have been more concerned about moving this fixture if there were supporters in the stadium.
Moving our home game against our biggest rivals now doesn’t mean we are surrendering home advantage because there will be no supporters in the stadium anyway.
I am aware of the history of the West Wales derby and how hotly contested it is and the role it plays in the festive calendar and how important this game is to the people of the region and how important it is to the people within our camp who come from the region.
It is a game borne out of years and years of intense rivalry and is the most important game in the calendar for supporters and the one they look for when the fixture list is published.
So, I have been left in no doubt how important this game is to the people we represent and this is a massive driver for the squad and myself.
This is the game we have to win for the supporters. It’s about the bragging rights and being able to laud it over your workmates on a Monday morning.
During my coaching career I have been privileged to be involved in some big local derbies. Bath versus Gloucester was a massive game; London Irish against Harlequins was another big game.
There is no doubt the Scarlets have been the most consistent team in Wales over the last few years and this is an opportunity to measure ourselves against them.
It is the first of three games that will really stress us, with Cardiff Blues and the Dragons to follow, but these challenges are why we are involved. There are no outs in these next games and I expect my first experience of the Welsh derbies to be pretty spicy.
As a group we have started to make some progress as the season has begun to unfold. Some of our younger players are learning their trade and have begun to really perform at the highest level and have started to do it on a consistent basis and that is really encouraging and exciting.
Any good team, any good organisation or business demonstrates consistency, not just in their outcomes, but in the performances they produce on a regular and consistent basis.
The Ospreys have started to show that and what is exciting for the coaches and myself is how much more there is to come from this squad of players.
The team thank you for your continued support.