Scarlets consider venue switch
January 25, 2007
Llanelli Scarlets could move their Heineken Cup quarter-final against reigning European champions Munster away from Stradey Park.
Scarlets directors are likely to decide later today on a possible switch to the Swansea home of Llanelli's fierce local rivals the Ospreys.
The Liberty Stadium, which Ospreys share with Swansea City Football Club, has a 20,280 capacity - almost double what Stradey Park can hold.
Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher said: "There are a number of things to weigh up. We will have a word with Phil (rugby director Phil Davies) and see what is best.
"The board will meet on Monday and we will make an announcement in the evening."
Leicester directors will also meet this week after Tigers landed a lucrative home tie against current French Championship leaders Stade Francais.
Tigers moved a 2005 semi-final against Toulouse and last season's quarter-final appointment with Bath across the road to Leicester City's Walkers Stadium, but having lost on both occasions, Welford Road would be the choice of Leicester supporters, even though it has a considerably smaller capacity.
Leicester and Stade will meet for the eighth Heineken Cup occasion, a sequence which includes an epic 2001 final in Paris won by Tigers, and head coach Pat Howard is relishing what could be an enthralling encounter.
"First of all, I am just delighted that we are into the last-eight after coming through a tough pool," said Howard, following Leicester's historic Heineken Cup victory over Munster at Thomond Park.
Leicester became the first visiting team to win a European tie in Limerick, and Howard added: "It was a great win and we were very happy to enjoy the moment.
"It has also allowed us to go another step, and now we face another tough tie, but we know we can compete against anyone."
Wasps are likely to keep their last-eight clash against Leinster at Adams Park in High Wycombe after reaching the knockout phase for the first time since being crowned European champions in 2004.
Wasps hooker Raphael Ibanez said: "We were fighting for a home quarter-final berth, and it is great to have achieved that. It will be a brilliant day, and I know our fans are already looking forward to it."
And Biarritz coach Patrice Lagisquet says his side need to improve to reach the standards they set in making the Heineken Cup final last season, despite ending the pool stage as top seeds.
Biarritz, 17-8 conquerors of Northampton yesterday, now face a rematch with Saints in the quarter-finals between March 30 and April 1.
Lagisquet said: "They (Northampton) will be a team with nothing to lose when they come to San Sebastian in the quarter-final.
"I always feel a danger with my team when the situation seems ideal for us. If you are over-confident, then you can find yourself in trouble."
Saints head coach Paul Grayson said: "Biarritz are a hell of a team, and if they don't want you to score, it's very difficult to do it.
"They don't do what they do by accident, and they win a lot of games by conceding very few points and taking their chances."
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown