Scarlets Will Have All Guns Blazing
3rd December 2007 By Munster Rugby
Director of Rugby Phil Davies is determined that his Scarlets will rekindle their interest in the Heineken Cup with victory over Munster in Stradey Park on Saturday.
Last season’s semi-finalists, who ended Munster’s run at Saturday’s venue a round earlier, have a very clear picture of what they have to do and Davies is confident their salvage bid will start at home to the 2006 Heineken Cup champions.
“Whatever you want to call it – the reality or the long and the short of it – the simple fact is that we have to win all our remaining games, starting with Munster at Stradey Park on Saturday evening,” said the former Wales captain.
“Playing Munster was always going to be a huge challenge but now, in the position we find ourselves in, it is an even bigger challenge. What we have to do is approach the match with confidence and the commitment to get the job done. In the remaining rounds of the Heineken Cup we are playing three great sides with the back-to-back matches against Munster first up. We are really looking forward to that – and then the return meetings with defending champions Wasps and finally Clermont at home.
“It is great that the series starts at Stradey because each of the remaining Pool games are real cup finals for us if we want to be in the mix for qualification for the knock-out stages. We have been disappointed and frustrated with our performances so far in this season’s Heineken Cup but we are most certainly not downbeat and we accept where we are in the Pool and that we just have to get on with things.
“We cross paths quite regularly with Munster and we have huge respect and regard for them both as they go about their business and what they stand for – which basically is everything that is good in rugby. But while we do know them well from frequent meetings, and they know us just as well, it is great to be playing them at European level for only the second time because both teams think so much of what is a really wonderful tournament.
“As everyone is well aware, Munster have an exceptionally strong unit up front through their line-out and scrum and can play a great kicking game through Ronan O’Gara – one of the best in the world at doing that. But they are also a lot more than that and, with Lifeimi Mafi in the centre in particular, their game has developed and there is a nice balance and mix about what they do.
“As far as the Scarlets go, we are intent on playing with plenty of pace, movement and tempo but we are only in the early stages of trying to develop a game that could bring us success in the next five years or so – a game to suit all occasions.
“Both ourselves and Munster have fantastic supporters so the back-to-back matches are going to be something special. Being part of such high profile games will be great experiences for coaches and players alike. I believe we are beginning to blend back together after everyone’s World Cup experiences and showing our true capabilities but we do need to get more rythym to our game.
“We do have quite a few injuries but our strength in depth in the squad is getting better all the time and I see it as a case of injuries merely providing opportunities for others.”