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
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.