Two weeks. Just two weeks into the season, yet the signs of great things building out West are hard to ignore.
In the Rabo PRO12, Scarlets are top of the league with 9 points, having won their first two matches. It is their best start since the 2008-2009 season.
In the Welsh Premiership, Llandovery are on top with Llanelli third and Carmarthen Quins fourth. The three West Wales clubs are also the only clubs in the league to pick up bonus points in both rounds.
It isn’t just the results and standings that catch the interest though; it’s the manner in which they are being won. Score lines of 45-20 (Scarlets v Leinster), 17 – 37 (Neath v Llandovery), 35-25 (Carmarthen Quins v Cardiff) and 6-46 (Newport v Llanelli) where all of the Scarlet regions’ sides have turned out rampant winners points to the tradition and belief of running rugby in the West still remaining core to all of their teams, and that they are able to produce this style home and away.
For years it has been looked on that Llanelli are the main side to provide players for the Scarlets, but when you look at the academy players involved, it is moving more and more to an even spread from all three of the feeder clubs.
This is vital to the development of players in West Wales and in the Scarlets’ region. Competition for places, and reward for great form now comes from three different areas, and all of this is fed up to the Scarlets who provide the platform for the best talent in the region to prove their worth.
It may only be two weeks into the season, but the manner of the wins, or even narrow defeats, is all pointing to the signs that rugby in the West is in a very healthy state. It’s rugby that is attractive, high quality and that is looking to deliver.
It’s a long season, and no doubt call ups to the Scarlets, injuries etc added to the very busy fixture list will have an effect on Llandovery, Llanelli and Carmarthen. But for the start they’ve delivered so far, I think all the signs are pointing to the fact that something very positive is building out West, and I for one can’t wait to see if it’s going to take off.