Blow for Scarlets as Gareth Maule faces scan
SCARLETS centre Gareth Maule will undergo a scan today to determine the extent of a knee injury he picked up in the 31-17 defeat to Gloucester on Friday night.
Maule limped off midway through the first half and was on crutches at the final whistle, leaving him a major doubt for Friday's RaboDirect Pro12 opener against defending champions Leinster at Parc y Scarlets.
The loss of one of the region's most consistent performers will be a blow to Simon Easterby's plans with Maule due to partner Wales international Scott Williams in midfield against the Dubliners.
Whether that means an earlier than anticipated return for British Lion Jonathan Davies remains to seen.
When asked about Davies, head coach Simon Easterby admitted: "We will have to reassess this week. Gareth picked up a knee injury which didn't look good, but we will wait for the scan on Monday."
The Kingsholm clash proved a highly competitive and physical affair with the Scarlets rousing themselves following an error-strewn first half to touch down for three second-half tries.
The West Wales region dominated the second period, but conceded a couple of soft scores to a Gloucester side who took their chances impressively.
However, a strong set-piece showing — a penalty try came from a driving line-out — provided plenty of encouragement, as did the return from injury of Wales international fly-half Rhys Priestland.
"Rhys looked very sharp," added Easterby. "It helped that we were able to keep hold of the ball and go through the phases, but the big thing was that he took the ball to the line, attacked the gainline and that allowed us to get some front-foot ball.
"A lot of players needed a hit out; a lot of players hadn't played for a long time. I would rather us get a few things wrong in pre-season and look to put them right for Leinster."
The defeat at Gloucester meant the Scarlets finished their pre-season without a win following a 23-15 home loss to Exeter Chiefs and a 16-16 draw at London Welsh.
But results aside, Easterby was satisfied with what his squad have got out of the fixtures.
"The players are starting to understand that when we are good we can be really good and put sides under pressure, but when we are poor a lot of it is down to our composure and our own errors, not necessarily the opposition forcing us," he added.
"A big part of pre-season has been the focus on decision-making under pressure and leadership and I certainly think we have come out of the back end of these games having learned some good lessons.
"Our challenge is to put that into practice when it matters, when points are at stake. That has to start this week in preparation for Leinster."
As for the champions, they were beaten 21-13 by Northampton Saints at Donnybrook on Friday night, albeit without the majority of their international stars, including the British Lions contingent that toured Australia this summer.
The IRFU have told the provinces to rest their Lions for the opening weeks of the season, leaving Leinster without Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, Cian Healy and Rob Kearney for the trip to West Wales.