World class British & Irish Lions and Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies is really ‘excited’ at the prospect of playing for the champions in the Guinness Pro14.

On the back of the Scarlets winning last season’s Guinness Pro12 final 44-26 against Munster in Dublin last April, Davies quickly turned his attention to performing brilliantly in the summer, taking centre stage for the British & Irish Lions, who drew a thrilling three-match test series with world champions New Zealand.

It capped a superb season for Davies, who was boosted by given the highest accolade of being chosen as ‘player of the series’ by his fellow Lions’ team mates.

The Pro14 was only announced a couple of weeks ago, and caused a lot of interest for the fans when it was announced that South African teams the Southern Kings and Toyota Chiefs have been included and Davies who attended the official launch in Cape Town,  South Africa.

The former Whitland RFC and Dyffryn Taf pupil, is looking forward to playing in the Guinness Pro14 format: “It’s a great concept, having teams from the northern hemisphere taking on teams from the southern, and will pose a massive challenge.

“It will add a different dimension for players and fans, and mixing-up the contrasting northern and southern hemisphere styles against each other will freshen things up.”

Asked whether the Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs, will drive the standard in the Guinness Pro14, Davies added: “South Africa has a very proud rugby history and tradition, similar to Wales and our fans’ passion back home.

“The Southern Kings and the Cheetahs have both competed strongly in Super Rugby, which we all know is a high standard, so introducing both these exciting teams will see this league reach the next level.”

Current champions Scarlets and Davies feels confident this group of players can do well again.

 “Of course, we’ll be the team to beat this season, naturally when you become champions, everyone wants to beat you.

“We have to prepare thoroughly and deal with that pressure week-in, week-out and make sure we are ready for every game.

“Winning the Pro-12 final against Munster in Dublin with this group, my mates, was special and was definitely one of the best experiences in my career.

“Having been brought up as a young boy supporting the Scarlets, then fulfilling my dream and playing for them, and actually going on to win the title with them last season was one of the best feelings ever.”

There have been a number of new players added to the strong Scarlets squad, but the latest recruit is current British Lions and Wales’ full back Leigh Halfpenny.

Davies was really pleased to greet him at Parc Y Scarlets.

“Yes we have a strong squad and we’ll be aiming to emulate last season’s success.

“Leigh (Halfpenny) is one of the best kickers in world rugby today.

“This move will give him the opportunity to showcase his incredible talent and show off his elusive style which the fans will really enjoy.”

The Scarlets’ opening game will be on Saturday, September 2, entertaining Southern Kings at Parc y Scarlets, kick-off is at 5.30pm.