Bennett rues likely Davies exit
May 21, 2012
Nigel Davies has helped bring through Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies and George North for the Scarlets © PA Photos
Scarlets' president Phil Bennett has said that the likely loss of coach Nigel Davies would be a big blow to the west-Wales club.
Davies, whose side failed to qualify for this season's RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs, is reportedly on a four-man short list to take over from Bryan Redpath as the new head coach of Premiership side Gloucester and Bennett is braced for the worst.
"I think it would be a massive blow because he is a quality coach," he told The Western Mail. "Nigel's come a long way. He's rebuilt the club after a dreadful couple of seasons. We were going nowhere. The fans were disenchanted. Nigel came in and had to go through two years of hell. But he has rebuilt it and turned it around.
"What's really encouraging is the crowds are coming back. The supporters have bought into Nigel's philosophy of playing football the traditional Scarlets' way, but matched with a bit of realism. Some people questioned whether the fans would take to Parc y Scarlets after Stradey Park, with all the history associated with that ground in the past, but they have and Nigel has played a big part in that."
Davies has helped turn the Scarlets into one of the most attractive teams and the side have become synonymous with an open-style of rugby. Key to this has been the young players that the former Wales centre has brought through, notably fly-half Rhys Priestland, wing George North and centre Scott Williams.
According to Bennett it means that if Davies does leave, he will have missed the chance to help the club to some long-awaited silverware. "We've not won a lot of things and I think Nigel said at the start of the season it's about time we grew up, we're not youngsters anymore and we have to win things," the former Wales and Lions captain said.
"This season they did very well in Europe but finishing outside the [Pro12] top four, I'm sure Nigel would have been very disappointed. What's a little bit baffling for me is that Nigel, along with possibly the chief executive and the board members have let five or six of the top notch forwards go. Nigel was saying 'I have to rebuild, I have to get a top front five to compete with the best and to win trophies. If he is to leave it leaves a huge task for the man following him to find those five or six forwards."
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"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin