Opposition View: Scarlets

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This week on the Opposition View we welcome back The Scarlet Way to give his views on the Scarlets ahead of our New Year’s Eve clash at the Cardiff Arms Park. Always well worth a read!

How pleased are you with Scarlets season so far?

It’s been good. We are playing some good stuff in patches. We haven’t hit the heights of last season but we have a tremendous spirit about us. The victories over Treviso and the Ospreys highlighted the winning mentality of our group. You have to remember that we are without three frontline international players in Jon Davies, Jake Ball and Samson Lee.

In the past, the loss of players of that calibre would have killed our season. That Ospreys team contained four Lions in Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Webb, Justin Tipuric and Dan Biggar and yet with 14 men we controlled the game and took the win. That sort of mentality is unique to this group of players. I haven’t seen that sort of spirit for a long time.

What has been the standout game?

Performance wise – the first 50 in Treviso. They couldn’t live with us. Aside from that is gas to be the two victories over the Ospreys. And not because I hate the Ospreys either. It’s because they have been beating us in that manner for a decade. It’s great to see us showing such grit, guts and determination to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The atmosphere at Parc y Scarlets for that Boxing Day game was pretty special too. And the celebration on the terrace at the end was utterly beautiful. Sheer, undiluted joy. The kind of moment that that will be indelibly inked into our memory forever.

Josh Macleod Scarlets
Josh MacLeod dives over to win the game on Boxing Day

 

Who has been the standout player for you?

Steff Evans has been great again. I don’t buy into the growing bandwagon of negativity that surrounds him. He’s 22 – he’s going to make errors. Who doesn’t at 22?! Enjoy watching him you joyless, pedants!

Asquith has impressed – very skilful.

For me the standout players have been Aaron Shingler and Wyn Jones. Shings is phenomenal. An absolutely vital player for us. He’s become a leader too. Wyn Jones is hugely impressive. His scrummaging is superb and he has a high work rate. A better version of Geth 😉.

A mention should go to Werner Kruger too. A fantastic acquisition who is going from strength to strength after a shaky start.

What are the hopes for the rest of the season now?

We are up against it – but qualifying for the last eight in Europe and another play-off appearance would be superb.

What did you think of our game earlier in the season?

Honestly, we beat you in second gear. A feature of our play this year has been how we have played in patches. We did that against you and you couldn’t live with us. Despite being sloppy we were convincing winners.

Ryan Elias Scarlets 17
Ryan Elias celebrates scoring in the reverse fixture earlier in the season

 

What have you made of Cardiff Blues generally so far?

I think you have a big pack, but I think you have too many cumbersome, ageing players. That said – you can play some good stuff and you have improved. When you get going you are a dangerous team.

I like the look of Seb Davies and Ellis Jenkins returning is a huge boost. I still haven’t seen the light as far as Anscombe is concerned. It bends my head that you didn’t build a team around Patch. Your loss…

Prediction for Boxing Day?

I think you’ll be pumped up. You owe us one so I’ll say 26-22 to you. That said – our pack looks a lot more mobile and if we move you around we could score a few tries. Here’s to a belter!

Thanks again to The Scarlet Way, and fingers crossed it will be a great occasion with a sell-out crowd at CAP to see out 2017!

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