Scarlets Not Out Of It
8th December 2007 By Munster Rugby
Even though they’ve lost star out-half Stpehen Jones, Llanelli Scarlets remain upbeat about their chances of reviving their push for a place in the nock-out phase of the Heineken Cup.
Their centre Regan King and captain Simon Easterby contends that last year’s semi-finalists are certainly not out of contention for a last-eight spot despite the prospect of a tough double-header against Munster and a daunting trip to Wasps.
“It’s disappointing to have lost both our games, but, as far as we are concerned, this group is not done and dusted just yet,” said King, the 27-year-old former New Zealand international.
“There are still four games to play and anything can happen in those. You also don’t know what will happen in the other games not involving us, so there’s still a chance.”
It’s not surprising that the once-capped All Black is so upbeat because his own personal form is not in question, even if his team-mates have not quite hit the heights of last year.
One of the stand-out players in last weekend’s 36-32 win over Saracens, King is relishing the prospect of coming face-to-face with Rua Tipoki.
The former Maori captain, who signed from Canterbury Crusaders, has teamed up with Tongan Lifeimi Mafi in a potent-looking Munster centre partnership.
It is a union which King and Gavin Evans are going to have to watch likes hawks tonight.
“I played against Rua back home,” said King. “He is a very good runner and quite flamboyant.
“He has got a good step and he waits until he is right in your face before he produces it, so we won’t be able to switch off for a second.
“Munster appear to be looking to use their centres more this season.
“Previously they were happy to rely on their forwards taking the ball up, but, with wingers like Brian Carney on board, they have more options now.”
And according to Easterby morale iin the Scarlets camp is good, “We’ve have taken a lot of positives out of the Saracens win,” he said.
“We played some really good stuff, we’re pleased with our performance and trained well, even in this weather. We are disappointed with the way things have gone in Europe, but, as I have said before, there is a fine line at this level. We don’t think we are a million miles away.”