Opposition View: Scarlets

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The Opposition View returns this week along with the Pro14, as Cardiff Blues travel west to the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday night. Get the thoughts of Scarlets fan @thescarletway on his team before the big game.

Looking back, just how good was 2016/17 for Scarlets?

A brilliant season. So many fantastic moments and memories. Beating Cardiff in the Arms Park was fantastic. Out travelling support was incredible that night and it will live long in the memory.

The victory over Toulon was incredible too. A huge effort and it was that victory that gave us the belief to push on. We then should have beaten Saracens before victories in Thomond Park, The Sportsground and the RDS really propelled us on to the final.

The final was special. It will be forever ingrained in my memory. The style of victory was scintillating. 5,000 Turks in a sea of Munstermen. I don’t know if I could have thought of a better storyline. Magnificent.

Scarlets Pro12 champions
Scarlets lifted the last ever Pro12 trophy in May

Supporter opinions of Wayne Pivac have been mixed during his time at Parc y Scarlets, what are the current thoughts on him?

I was unconvinced, as many now remind me! What many forget that I was adamant of at the time was – I wanted him to turn it around, but couldn’t see how it was possible. People forget now but we were dreadful from December 15 until October 16. I’m glad he did because if he had gone we wouldn’t have won the league.

I think it is fair to say that Pivac doesn’t suffer fools and this has caused friction with quite a few players. However, what we seem to have now is a group of hungry players who are totally committed to the cause. We haven’t been able to say that for a long time.

If Pivac had gone then many players would have come and gone and we’d have ended up back in the perpetual cycle of mediocrity that we’ve been bogged down in for a decade.

Are you happy with your summer recruitment?

Yes – of course I would have loved to have kept Liam. An eight would have been nice too I suppose – but you know what – we have a good squad and some great youngsters.

What is really important is for the club to demonstrate to the younger players that there is a sustainable pathway to the first team and then to the national team. So, ultimately, yes, I’m happy. Ross Moriarty would be nice next summer though.

_97200342_leighhalfpenny
Former Cardiff Blues full-back Leigh Halfpenny is now a Scarlet

Where would you say the weaknesses lie within your squad?

We are a bit thin at blindside and in the back three. Prydie is an odd one, he appears to have been lost in Llanelli’s black hole. Wherever he is it is where Rob McCusker ended up along with George Earle and Jack Condy.

Who is your Scarlets player to watch this season?

Wyn Jones is one to watch. Cracking player. Very underrated and underestimated. Such a strong scrummager. Will Boyde is a beast too. Fantastic player. Tadgh Beirne has been on fire as has Aaron Shingler.

A new one to watch? Probably Asquith – he is sublimely skillful. Could be a real find.

will-boyde-toulon
Will Boyde was unlucky to miss out on a Wales call-up this week

What would a successful 2017/18 season look like for you?

A top six finish and the quarters of Europe would be good. We lost to Bath but have more than enough quality to beat them at the Rec. Must keep the faith!

What is your score prediction for our game?

We’ll bounce back. It’ll be tight, but I’m going for a 26-22 win.

Thanks again to @thescarletway for his insight into Saturday’s opponents, here’s hoping for a cracking Welsh derby, with a Cardiff win at the end!

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