Scarlets gearing up for 'biggest' game
January 11, 2011
Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees will renew hostilities with Leicester this weekend © Getty Images
The Scarlets are gearing up for a vital Heineken Cup showdown with Leicester in Llanelli on Saturday, a contest heralded as the region's 'biggest game in the last three years' by coach Nigel Davies.
With only three points separating the Scarlets, Tigers and Perpignan at the summit of Pool 5 there is no margin for error for Davies' side, who will need to overcome the psychological scars of their 46-10 hammering at Welford Road earlier in the season as well as the more recent damage done by a 60-point loss to the Ospreys in December.
"No shadow of doubt about it, this is the biggest game we have faced in the last three years," Davies said. "What makes this match against Leicester Tigers so huge is the fact that we have not been in this sort of position in the Heineken Cup during the time I have been back here and now we have 15 points from three wins with two matches to play.
"Against Leicester in round two we were very competitive in the first-half but then during a 15 minute period in the second half we had the ball but didn't deal with the pressure they put us under and if you give a side like that half chances they generally take them and punish you.
"Despite that result, and our recent performance against the Ospreys, we believe we are going in the right direction in the long process of developing the competitive group of players we now have."
Davies' charges can call on the confidence gained in a thrilling victory over Perpignan at Parc y Scarlets in the opening round, although their coach has also highlighted their bonus-point win over Benetton Treviso as an important building block.
"Our home match against Perpignan was a fabulous game of rugby but the away game against Treviso has been the most pleasing," he said. "Everyone knows Treviso is a very difficult place to go and win - Leicester only won there with virtually the last play of the game - and we went there with a relatively inexperienced team and came away with a hugely significant try bonus point to go with the four for the win.
"In the Heineken Cup bonus points are massive and, come the end of round six, they can, and often do, make all the difference."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'