SCARLETS 29-6 GLASGOW :: 13 Apr 09:28

Scarlets hit form at right time to keep up play-off pressure

By Antonia Lamont

The Scarlets produced an impressive and comprehensive performance to knock back an in-form Glasgow Warriors side and maintain a strong position in the play-off zone of the RaboDirect PRO12.

Billed as one of the most important games of their season, the Scarlets looked confident and in control throughout with an all round game that showed little sign of weakness.

And with two home games left this season, the region has called on all rugby supporters in West Wales to pack Parc y Scarlets and fully support the region and its Scarlets stars in the last two home games in Llanelli.

Next up will be a hotly contested Welsh derby as the Cardiff Blues make it to West Wales next Saturday 20th April kicking off at 6.30pm. The final game of the regular season will be against Benetton Treviso on the 3rd of May (kick off 7.45pm).

Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby had stated pre-match that the coaches and players had worked very hard on studying ways to break the Glasgow Warriors flow and put an end to the feast of tries the Scottish team have been scoring of late.

Easterby said: “We are very pleased: we have worked hard all week on certain things in our game and it showed in the first half: we played in the right areas and when we attacked we did get some reward from our game around the fringes.”

The Scarlets have built momentum over recent weeks now having won seven of their last eight fixtures in all competitions and having won their last five encounters at Parc y Scarlets. Add to that they have now achieved a clean sweep over Scottish opponents this season.

The Warriors have won eight of their last ten encounters with the Welsh regions. However, Glasgow have won just one of their last six matches against the Scarlets: 19-9 at Firhill in February 2012. Warriors have not won at Parc y Scarlets since May 2010.

Easterby added: “I thought the forwards went well. The damage was done in the first half and we set the platform. Owen (Williams) kicked a lot of goals and kept the scoreboard moving which was important but also, our defense really stepped-up tonight.

“We’ve talked about his ever since the double-header at the Millennium Stadium; and the boys have responded very well and put in a huge effort. Not allowing Glasgow to get a try was a really important statement after their points tally in recent weeks.

“It’s really positive to see all the things were trained for and worked hard on paying off and to nail them from a try perspective was reward for that effort and commitment from the team.”

Simon Easterby said the contest was still very much in the Scarlets hands. He said: “This weekend, we’ve showed we can be difficult to beat here – we’ve got our tails up and have hit form at the right time. We know we need to be mindful of the Blues and Treviso threat; but what we’ve created in this game gives us momentum now for the final run-in and was a great template for winning rugby.”

The Scarlets Head Coach said keeping themselves in the race for the opportunity to play for silverware was down to hard work in the earlier part of the season and said the final home run-in made it an exciting time to be a Scarlet.

He said: “We build the foundations for this run-in by winning on the road earlier in the season with results in Connacht, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“We have a couple of years where we have been so close and it is important for supporters, local sponsors and the players themselves to have this chance now; they have worked really hard this year to build a positive campaign in the PRO12.”

Simon Easterby said he was proud of how his players had conducted themselves in light of the recent debates in Welsh rugby off the pitch; responding in the right way and focusing on performance.

He said: “I’m very pleased with how the players have reacted to the latest debates in Welsh Rugby and how they have kept their focus. These are issues that are not for the players to get involved in; however we understand and appreciate what the Regions are collectively battling for and that they must stand-up for what they consider to be the right solutions for the future of Welsh Rugby.

“It’s our job to battle for results and silverware and to produce performance on the field that connect with the support we have in our region.

“It’s challenging time but we have to be pragmatic about players leaving the group – it happens unfortunately.

“At the end of the day this region is strong – we have a real spirit, heritage and values and we are all working hard on both the rugby side and the commercial side alongside our partners and sponsors who are giving us the best platform they can to go and perform.

“Our players want to express themselves in a positive way in the environment they are comfortable in and that’s on the training field or pitch. It’s important they go out there and enjoy it too – it’s where they are most at home and can shine and that’s what we saw on Friday night.”