Scarlets: Pro12 leaders must show form is no fluke, says John Barclay

John Barclay in action for Scarlets against Treviso
John Barclay has played 43 times for Scotland

Scarlets are determined to show their good early-season form is not a fluke, according to back rower John Barclay.

Barclay captained the team as they moved back to the top of the Pro12 following their 22-20 win over Treviso.

Since the league was expanded to include two Italian sides, Scarlets have never finished higher than fourth.

"I'm sure teams are expecting they can beat us because we haven't been in the top four for a couple of years," said the 29-year-old Scotland international.

"So it's up to us to keep plugging away and prove to them that it's not just a fluke at the start of the season.

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"There's not a great deal separating one to four and you don't get anything for being top after nine games, so we'll keep our heads down."

Grinding out results

Scarlets needed a controversial late penalty by Steve Shingler to clinch a hard-fought win against the Italians who are bottom of the table after losing all nine of their league matches.

That win followed another stuttering performance in the 20-12 win over Zebre.

Morgan Allen scores for Scarlets against Treviso
Morgan Allen scored two tries as the Scarlets beat Treviso 22-20

"We've got two games in Europe now and it's nice to sit there and look at it and think we've worked pretty damned hard to get there," added Barclay.

"We've won some scrappy games and I don't think we've played our best rugby, we're just sort of grinding out good wins.

"It's pleasing but it's still early days."

Difficult European challenge

Scarlets' next two matches are against Barclay's former team Glasgow in the European Champions' Cup.

After their 29-12 trouncing by Racing 92 and a narrow defeat against Northampton at Franklin's Gardens, the Welsh region face an uphill challenge to qualify from Pool 3.

"We've made life very difficult," acknowledged Barclay.

"If you lose at home it becomes very difficult - the double header is a bit unique in that you play teams back to back so we've got to go up there next week and chuck everything at it because if we lose it makes a tough position worse.

"But if we go up there and get a win then we can still keep our hopes alive."