Gareth Jenkins will lead Llanelli into next season with only one thing on his mind - the elusive Heineken Cup trophy.
Jenkins has coached the Scarlets to two European semi-finals in the last three years and won the Welsh Cup and Welsh/Scottish League along the way, but he won't rest until he's taken the next step.
"We came 'so close and yet so far' for the second time last season and we all feel it's time to take that extra step," said Jenkins, the longest serving and most succesful coach in Welsh club rugby.
"Two European semis in three years is an almighty achievement, but that Cup final spot has been elusive for us so far.
"Personally, and I know this is true for the rest of the coaching staff, winning the Heineken cup is the one achievement that still eludes us and we feel it's a tournament that a great club like ours should be winning. It
would be the icing on the cake of a great period of success for Llanelli if
we could do it."
Jenkins has brought in Wales prop Iestyn Thomas from Ebbw Vale and centre Matthew Watkins from Newport to strengthen his squad for the new onslaught on Europe, but he feels the nucleus is there at Stradey Park to win the biggest prize.
"We have a similar side this season to the one that did so well last. We have two new recruits in Iestyn and Matthew and we can only get stronger."
But the Llanelli coach believes this year's draw gives them every chance of qualifying out of their pool.
"We are up against three sides that we know, Glasgow from the Welsh/Scottish League, Bourgoin from beating them both home and way in Europe two season's ago and Sale from watching their campaign against Pontypridd in the PARKER PEN Sheild last year.
"Glasgow at home is a good game to kick-off the campaign. We will be
favourites to win that one, especially as it is at Stradey Park, but we must protect against the kind of slip that saw us lose to Gloucester in the first round in 2000."
Jenkins also has some final words of wisdom for Welsh club colleagues
Neath, who face the might of Leicester Tigers in their first round match,
and Llanelli know all about the Heineken Cup champions from last season's campaign.
"The game of the first round has to be Leicester's visit to the Gnoll against Lyn Jones' Neath," said Jenkins.
"It's a massive draw for them but if there is one side in Wales with the
wear-with-all to take them on, it's Neath. They won't make the mistake of
giving Leicester too much respect.
"The Tiger's may be the reigning champions but we showed last year when we beat them and ran them close on two other occasions that there is a way to win.
"When they came to Stradey we won by intimidating them out of their game plan, that's exactly what Neath will try to do and good luck to them."
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The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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