Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins has spotted a weakness in the French psyche
which he hopes to expose when the Scarlets travel to Heineken Cup opponents Perpignan tomorrow (Friday) night - as they take their first step towards a 'winner takes all' clash with Leicester at Stradey Park the following week.
The Welsh/Scottish league leaders make only one change of personnel for the
crunch European clash from the team that beat Bridgend to retain pole
position in the domestic competition last weekend.
Leigh Davies moves to the bench after a winter cold affected his preparations during the week and Salesi Finau moves from wing to centre.
Veteran wing Wayne Proctor returns to the side to cover the right wing and
Mark Jones moves to the wing vacated by Finau.
Club captain Scott Quinnell has also been declared fit again after a slight
twinge to his hamstring forced him to miss the win at the Brewery Field, but
he also starts the match on the bench.
However, Jenkins is optimistic about the Scarlets' chances in Perpignan
after beating them at Stradey Park earlier this season and with an
impressive away record in France already under his belt.
"If French clubs do have a weakness, and there is probably only one, then it is their temperament," said Jenkins.
"Perpignan are capable of playing an impressive and penetrative style of
rugby and it is going to be up to us to unsettle them.
"If we can beat Perpignan this weekend it really sets up the clash with
Leicester at Stradey Park the following Saturday.
"It's going to be a case of winner takes all in the group and this is a big
fortnight for Llanelli Rugby Club. It could really make or break our
season, but all we can think about at the moment is the task that faces us
"We have to do everything we can to defeat them. We must keep our nerve, try
to affect their confidence and keep the ball as much as possible."
LLANELLI: Garan Evans; Wayne Proctor, Neil Boobyer, Salesi Finau, Mark
Jones; Stephen Jones (Capt), Dwayne Peel; Martyn Madden, Robin McBryde, John
Davies, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby, Dafydd Jones, Dave Hodges
REPLACEMENTS: Phil Booth, Marcus Thomas, Vernon Cooper, Scott Quinnell, Guy Easterby, Gareth Bowen, Leigh Davies
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.