Rob McCusker wants the Scarlets to put a run of performances together next term
Scarlets skipper Rob McCusker reckons greater consistency is the key to the region ending their decade-long trophy drought.
It has been 10 years since the West Walians battled past Ulster 23-16 at Stradey Park to become the first Welsh region to win the Celtic league. Since then the trophy cabinet at Parc Y Scarlets has remained unopened, but skipper McCusker is hoping to clinch a piece of silverware next year.
"Consistency has been our downfall - not being able to back up a decent performance with another one. That's what we are working on, to hit a performance level and stay there," said McCusker.
"You have to do very well if you want to get into a final. We'd like to think we'd be there or thereabouts, that's what we try to drive towards when we go into work every day. But it is getting more competitive each season, in Europe and in the PRO12. Even the Amlin Challenge Cup is a really tough competition right to the end."
The Scarlets are losing Jonathan Davies to Clermont Auvergne but are bringing Regan King back to the region from France, while Wales wing Harry Robinson will increase their firepower out wide.
They have also negotiated a fresh deal with Davies' brother Jamie, a highly-rated flanker, and have re-signed prop Peter Edwards and given fellow front rower Wyn Jones a full-time contract.
"We've recruited in a couple of areas where we might have been lacking over the past couple of years, so I think we're building a decent team," added McCusker, who saw the Scarlets finish sixth in this season's RaboDirect PRO12 having reached the final four the previous year.
"We have a new forwards coach as well (Wayne Pivac). If we can keep building on what we've done under Danny (Wilson) over the past couple of years, we won't be far off.
"We can go so far, but then you come up against the likes of Clermont Auvergne in Europe and they are able to bring experienced internationals off the bench, which makes a difference. We have played them over the past couple of years and done okay for 60 minutes, but then you see (Aurélien) Rougerie going off and Benson Stanley coming on and it can get tough. But we are building and we are all determined to push on."
The Women's Rugby World Cup warm-up clash between Wales and USA proved bittersweet for centre Elen Evans. Despite being one of the star performers on the day on her 50th Test appearance, USA edged home 10-7 at Cross Keys.
Wales U20 head coach Byron Hayward and back row Will Boyde believe defence will be the key when they face Ireland tomorrow in the second pool game of the Junior World Championship being held in New Zealand.
Tension was palpable as players waited to hear the announcment of the Wales touring squad of South Africa. Matthew Morgan was one of four uncapped players named in the squad after impressing in the Wales Senior Trial.
Wales Trial, Principality Premiership Awards evening and Wales U20s in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Jamie Roberts and Matthew Rees about the Wales Trial, captain Dafydd Lockyer talks about Pontypridd dominating the Principality Premiership awards, while ahead of the start of the Junior World Championships we talk to Tom Williams, Steffan Hughes, Jack Dixon and Nicky Smith.
Coaches Rob Howley and Robin McBryde today confirmed their Probables and Possibles teams to take part in Friday's Wales Senior Trial at the Liberty Stadium and both are predicting some mouth-watering head-to-heads.
Possibles coach Robin McBryde has given his team a licence to thrill in Friday's Wales Senior Trial match. He tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie that his side will be determined to ruffle a few feathers against the favourites, the Probables.
We look at the squads for the Wales trial, European finals weekend and Wales U20 on this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Warren Gatland and Rob Howley on the trial, full back Hallam Amos on his summer hopes, Wales legend Ieuan Evans welcomes European rugby finals weekend to Cardiff and Wales U20 hooker Ethan Lewis looks ahead to the Junior World Championships.
Wales Under 20 head coach Byron Hayward says last night's 31-19 win over Scotland was a crucial building block as the Junior World Cup rapidly approaches. WRU TV's Liz Jones gets his post match reaction.
Scarlets skipper Ken Owens said his players have "taken it on the chin" from the coaches in the wake of last weekend's six-try defeat in Dublin and are ready to made amends against Benetton Treviso on Saturday night.